What to Do During the 30-Day Wait Period After Filing for Divorce


Under Missouri state law, couples who file for divorce are required to separate and wait 30 days after filing before they can begin the divorce proceedings in earnest. This waiting period is designed to help couples make sure that divorcing is the right choice. While the state is fairly flexible on how you spend your time during that waiting period, there are a few things your Missouri divorce lawyer will want you to do during your separation. Here are the most tasks you’ll want to take care of as soon as your separation begins.

Move Into a Separate Bedroom or Dwelling

You and your spouse are required to live separately during that 30-day waiting period. But the state does recognize that moving out of a shared home prior to your divorce could put unnecessary strain on your finances. That’s why they allow couples to simply move into separate bedrooms and continue living under the same roof. If you’re worried about money, this can keep you from taking on an additional rent or mortgage payment. 

If you’re uncomfortable with the thought of living under the same roof, you can always get a short-term rental or move into a friend or family member’s spare bedroom. Just remember that you and your spouse will have to stop sharing a bedroom and should live effectively separate lives until your divorce is complete. 

Keep Your Spending Under Control

Shopping may feel like a great way to alleviate stress, but regardless of whether you have the money to splurge and seek comfort in retail therapy, buying items you don’t need may backfire. The court could consider your shopping sprees as a dissipation of shared assets. They could hold this against you and offer a smaller settlement than you’d otherwise be entitled to.

Instead of buying items you don’t need, stick to just buying the essentials. You can also look for healthier coping mechanisms that won’t strain your finances. This could involve joining a gym, hanging out with friends, getting back into hobbies you’ve neglected over the years, or other similar activities.

Be Mindful of What You Say on Social Media

Social media can be used against you in court since many of the comments and posts you create are public. If you vent about your spouse on social media, the court may take those comments into consideration when determining your settlement. If you need to vent or express your frustration, keep it offline. Talk to a trusted friend or family member or speak with a therapist who may be able to offer advice on how you can better improve your mental health during your separation and divorce.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Though it’s tempting to shut down communications with your spouse as soon as the waiting period starts, try not to. If you can, be willing to communicate about any shared interests you have or events and expenses that could impact both of you. And if you have kids, be willing to discuss their needs with your spouse. 

You may find it helpful to approach those conversations like you would a customer or client at work. Keep things professional, calm, and collected. If you can’t reach an agreement, speak with your attorney for advice on how best to proceed.

Follow Your Missouri Divorce Lawyer’s Advice

The 30-day waiting period can be stressful when all you want to do is move on with your life. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay in close communication with your Missouri divorce lawyer throughout your separation. 
At Columbia Family Law, we’re here to help. Our experienced attorneys understand the challenges that couples face and will help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.