If your marriage has been over symbolically for a while, you might be considering dating while separated — but that might be a big mistake. Even if you and your partner no longer share the same bedroom, unless one of you has left home, dating is a really bad idea and can end up causing you to lose marital assets or custody. Summary of Missouri Legal Age Laws Missouri statute does not specify age limits below the age of majority 18 , but it does offer some limited exceptions for minors. Express parental consent waiving parental rights Implied parental consent minor is already living apart from parents and supporting him or herself Significant change in status this may include military enlistment or marriage Learn more about Missouri's legal age laws in the following table and corresponding links to related topics. Missouri statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age Missouri also allows for a legal marriage between the parties to be an affirmative defense. In Missouri, a defendant can claim to be not guilty because they reasonably believed that the victim was at least 17 years old. If you are going to date, you need to use discretion around the kids. In general, the age of consent in Missouri for sexual intercourse is 17 years old. Feb 8, 4: Individuals aged 16 or younger in Missouri are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape. But Missouri does allow for the emancipation of minors by court order in some limited circumstances, which include: And dating while separated may fall into that category.
Can't find a category? If you do want to date, however, there are some things that you need to know. And dating while separated may fall into that category. Missouri permits life imprisonment sentences to be granted if the victim is younger than 12, serious physical injury was threatened or inflicted, or if there were multiple perpetrators involved. In Missouri, a defendant can claim to be not guilty because they reasonably believed that the victim was at least 17 years old. This is the age at which a person can consent to have sex with another person who is also that age or older. Close in age exemptions , commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet laws", are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent. Even if you and your partner no longer share the same bedroom, unless one of you has left home, dating is a really bad idea and can end up causing you to lose marital assets or custody. If you are dating someone, then it is possible for them to be deposed about the relationship, when it began, whether it was sexual, and whether they were aware of any marital property being hidden or transferred. Overview Those who are 18 and older are considered adults in the eyes of the law, but many states also set age limits for minors with respect to certain legal obligations and privileges. But Missouri does allow for the emancipation of minors by court order in some limited circumstances, which include: Defenses do exist under certain circumstances when the offender made a mistake identifying the victim's age. The lightest sentence possible for first degree statutory rape or statutory sodomy is 10 years in prison. Do I Need an Attorney? In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Missouri What is the Missouri Age of Consent? Missouri, like most states, takes the difference in age between the partners into account when determining whether statutory rape has actually occurred. The state does not have a formal procedure for the emancipation of minors , in which a minor is declared an "adult" in the eyes of the law and thus eligible for all of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. It can also be that your significant other might seek to prove that you were having an affair before the separation began, and it might become your word against theirs. Unlike other states, Missouri allows for mistake of age to be used as an affirmative defense against statutory rape. If you are seeking a dissolution of marriage in Missouri, there are things that you need to know in order to protect yourself, your custody rights, and your assets. Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in Missouri, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape , although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 16 year old and the second is a 17 or 18 year old. Louis Family Law Attorney At The Betz Law Firm, our legal practice is focused exclusively on family law , and consists of a staff of experienced professionals who have immense knowledge of all the legal issues that can arise during a divorce. It is legal for a person to have sex with someone who is under the age of consent so long as both parties are at least 14 years old and under 21 years old.
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