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Melissa A. Featherston

Child custody: divorce versus separation

Determining child custody is one of the hardest aspects of any divorce. Even when Missouri couples are willing to amicably work together to design a parenting plan, it can still be complicated to work through the details. Child custody and other important factors also play a role in a legal separation. 

A recent poll has revealed that separation is harder than completing a divorce. The survey revealed that women who are separated feel significant stress, possibly due to the financial impact felt by many women when a marriage dissolves. The stress levels of separated women may also be related to the fact that a separation may feel indefinite, whereas a divorce brings a certain finality to the situation. 

The children of those who are separated can also feel similar stress. Children often internalize the stress and emotions of the parents. Consequently, if a separation is hard on the parents, it will be hard on the children as well. Fortunately, a separation agreement can clearly state custody arrangements during this time, which benefits everyone. A well-drafted legal separation agreement can grant a family peace of mind during difficult times, eliminating arguments and uncertainty. 

A separation may not be ideal for every Missouri couple, but it can be beneficial in some situations. A separation may lay the groundwork for a future divorce or help parents work through issues, such as child custody, before initiating the divorce process. No matter what the particular situation may be, families can benefit from a case evaluation in order to determine the optimal way to achieve a resolution to their family law issue.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Survey Says Separation Is More Stressful Than Divorce, And Women Take The Hardest Hit", Rebecca Adams, Nov. 3, 2014

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