How Is Property Divided in Divorce?

One of the most contentious issues in a divorce is determining property division. Each person generally has an idea of what is theirs and what they want to take away at the end of the marriage. Unless a specific pre- or post-nuptial agreement has outlined what will happen to property, Missouri laws already dictate how property is to be divided in divorce.

Many states across the country divide their property according to the rules of equitable division or community property. Missouri is different. Governed by the laws of dual-property, the court will distinguish between marital property and non-marital property before dividing any assets in divorce.

What is the difference in property types?

Property can be considered any real property, such as homes or land, or personal property, like bank accounts and jewelry.

Property can be considered:

  • Marital: Any property that was acquired by the spouses during the marriage, regardless of whose name the asset may be in when divorcing.
  • Non-marital: Property that belongs to only one of the spouses, such as that obtained before marriage or inherited from a relative.
  • Co-mingled: Non-marital property that has been blended with marital property so that it is not fully one or the other.

How does the court determine who gets what?

It is based on the designation of this property that the court will determines how it will be. If spouses are able to work with one another, they can come to an agreement about the property outside of the court. If a decision cannot be made, then a judge will look at the marital and co-mingled property and divide it according to equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means that the judge will divide property according to what they determine to be fair, which is not necessarily equal.

Determining what is equal will involve the judge looking at some important factors, such as each person's economic status, their involvement in the marital property, the amount of separate assets they have, custodial arrangements for the children, and the behavior of the spouses during the marriage.

If you are wondering how you may be affected by property division in an upcoming divorce, retain an attorney who can help prepare you for what to expect. The Hogan Law Group offers free case evaluations to discuss your case.

Categories: Property Division