How property (and debt) is divided in a Missouri divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Friday, June 26, 2015.

Outside of a child custody dispute, property division is one of the hottest topics in a divorce. Both parties generally want the lion’s share of the assets, sometimes leading to a fierce battle. What many couples do not consider, however, is the division of debt in a divorce. In Missouri, property and debts are divided the same way.

The state of Missouri tends to divide property and debt equitably between divorcing parties. This does not mean they are split right down the middle. Rather, it takes into consideration income, involvement in the household, child custody and other factors. The courts will also count marital misconduct, such as an affair, against the offending party.

Before any debt or property division occurs, however, everything must be assigned as marital or non-marital. Marital debt and property was acquired during the marriage, while non-marital property was acquired before or outside of it. This can lead to some tricky situations. For example, a gift that was intended for just one spouse, such as a large television for the “man cave,” may be considered non-marital property. Once everything is labeled, only marital property and debt is divided.

You have the right to decide for yourselves how everything will be divided. As long as it isn’t heavily one-sided, the courts will likely agree to the division. If you cannot agree, the court will divide it for you.

If you are in need of guidance when it comes to property division, an attorney may be able to help.

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