When married couples go their separate ways, theirproperty has to go with them, and deciding who gets what can often be messy. Missouri is an equitable property state, which means that all marital property is divided fairly as determined by a judge, not necessarily equally. Spouses are also awarded any property that is considered separate.
MARITAL PROPERTY VS. SEPARATE PROPERTY
According to the Missouri Revised Statutes § 452.330, marital property is any property that spouses acquired while married. Property may be considered marital property, rather than separate, even if the spouses did not acquire it jointly.
Separate property is property that was:
- Owned by either spouse prior to marriage
- Acquired by (or in exchange for property acquired by) gift, bequest, devise, or descent
- Acquired by one spouse after entering into a legal separation agreement
- Excluded from division by way of a written agreement between both parties
All property is assumed to be marital property until proven to meet one or more of the separate property requirements.
HOW DOES THE COURT DECIDE HOW PROPERTY IS DIVIDED?
After separate property is established, the court will consider all relevant factors when determining how to divide the marital property. These factors include:
- Each spouse’s economic situation
- Custodial arrangements (for cases involving minor children)
- Each spouse’s contribution to acquiring the marital property
- Total value of separate property awarded to each spouse
- How each party conducted themselves through the duration of the marriage
FIGHT FOR THE PROPERTY YOU DESERVE
If you are considering divorce, retain a skilled divorce attorney who can fight for the property you deserve. You don’t have to get the short end of the stick. Contact The Buxner Law Firm today at (314) 863-6000 toschedule a free, in-office consultation.