In Missouri there is no legal separation requirement. However, for 30 days after filing for divorce a husband and wife need to be living apart. This does not necessarily mean living in separate houses though. Rather, it can mean living in the same house, yet sleeping in separate rooms.
It is this period of separation that can be quite troubling, especially for small children who want to know what is going on and if mom and dad are going to be getting a divorce.
Many Missouri couples are now finding themselves in this situation. In some cases it is in order to give themselves the time necessary to figure out custody arrangements, visitation schedules and to have all of a child's questions answered. But, in other cases, it is out of sheer necessity as neither parent earns enough to run a separate household.
Regardless of what is keeping two people in the same house, understand that separation while living together can be quite difficult. This is why couples are strongly encouraged to put some planning into what this type of living situation is going to look like ahead of time.
The first thing is to sit down and create some rules. These rules should include how spouses will communicate with each other, as well as lay out responsibilities around things like cleaning the house and grocery shopping.
Dating during this time can also be rather tricky. To avoid confrontation or awkwardness, it is probably best to just not bring anyone home. Rather, wait to date until both spouses are no longer living under the same roof.
During this time, if kids do know about the eventual plans for divorce, expect that there will be questions, such as if they will have to change schools, when the divorce is going to take place and what the visitation schedule is going to look like. In order to avoid worry -- or children coming up with their own answers -- parents are normally told to wait to announce the divorce until there are answers to these questions.
Source: Huffington Post, "Separated Under the Same Roof: Tips for Surviving The Limbo Phase," Kate Scharff, June 3, 2013