Property Division in Missouri
One of the first things to know about property division in Missouri is that there are two types of legal property: separate and marital. Property which was owned prior to the marriage is considered separate property while anything gained during the marriage is marital property. No couple expects to get divorced when they first get married, so many of us never think about who owns what. Unfortunately, during a divorce, the division of property can become the greatest source of division.
Home or Residence Division
In many cases, a couple that gets married will buy a home together. Naturally, a married couple will want to live together and sharing a residence is almost always the next step. If that couple decides to separate, a home purchased during the marriage is considered marital property and will have to be divided according to the law.
In making a decision about dividing financial assets, the court objectively considers many factors relating to the financial situations of both parties. Some of the key factors the court takes into consideration include contributions to a marital home, the value of each party’s separate property, the behavior of each party during the marriage, and the custodial arrangements for any children. Since dividing financial assets is such a delicate and complex issue, this is often the most difficult phase of a divorce, both for you and for the court.
Debts are part of property. Just like a car or a house, debts acquired before marriage are considered separate property, while those taken on during a marriage are considered marital property. The division of debt, therefore, is like the division of any other asset or piece of property during a divorce. The court will consider many different factors in determining how the remaining payment of marital debt is to be divided.
Cars, Personal Property & Pets
Cars and personal property acquired before a marriage are considered separate property and will not be divided during a divorce. However, if a married couple buys a car or other personal property while they are married, that will have the potential to be divided during a divorce. The same goes for pets. Traditionally, the law has considered pets nothing more than property, so they could be assigned a value and divided. Recently, Missouri couples have found ways to give their pets the same status as children in the courts, which can be a more fair treatment in some cases.
Contact The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C.
For a free initial consultation with an experienced O’Fallon divorce attorney, contact us online or call our office at 636-486-4136. We will set up a telephone consultation, if necessary. Saturday meetings are available upon request. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.