Many people in Missouri say their wedding vows with the full intention of spending the rest of their lives together. In that moment, they are likely full of love, happiness and hope for the future. Unfortunately, life — including job pressures, health issues and the impact of raising children — can often change people in ways such that they are no longer the same person who walked down the aisle years earlier. Despite being in a marriage that is no longer compatible, some people may choose to stay in an unhappy relationship because of certain misconceptions associated with the divorce process.
In some cases, one spouse often decides to stay at home to take care of children. If the spouses kept their assets separate, the divorce process can seem especially daunting to the spouse who has been out of the workforce for years. However, simply keeping separate accounts does not prevent the funds from being considered marital property subject to equitable division.
If there are children involved, one parent may choose to stay in an unhappy relationship over concerns that he or she will not be awarded custody — specifically that a judge may automatically favor one parent over the other. However, courts are tasked with carefully weighing the best interests of children. This decision must be made regardless of the gender of parents or who makes the most money.
Perhaps most important to remember is that a divorce will not bring about an immediate cessation of conflict, especially for couples who share children and must continue to make parenting decisions together. However, the decision to divorce is often the first step toward starting a life that is happier and more fulfilling in the long run. An attorney with experience with family law can help those in Missouri fully understand their options.