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
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
The Hogan Law Group offers
free case evaluations
to discuss your case.