Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the decisions involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
Property division can be a significant issue of contention for couples seeking a divorce. The process can get even more complex and messy if you have been married for long. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the property division process in Missouri divorce cases. Below is everything you need to know.
Statement of Property and Debt
Missouri divorce law requires you and your spouse to disclose all your property and debt when filing for divorce. And the court cannot grant you divorce before you sign the statement of property and debt.
What if your spouse is not honest about their assets? Unfortunately, full disclosure of property may not always happen. Your spouse may hide some of their assets, understate their income, or exaggerate their expenses. If you suspect or believe your spouse is hiding some assets, inform your divorce attorney right away. This equates to a breach of fiduciary duties, and action can be taken against them.
How Property Is Divided in a Missouri Divorce Case
Missouri follows a dual-property system. This means that your properties generally fall into two categories: Marital and Non-marital property.
Marital property is property or assets acquired by either or both parties during the marriage. On the other hand, separate property refers to property or assets acquired by either spouse before marriage. In divorce proceedings, separate properties remain with the party that bought them. It’s also worth noting that if you decide to go for separation instead of divorce, anything you acquire after separation will fall under the non-marital property.
After differentiating the property, a Missouri judge will divide marital property using the equitable distribution method. The court will consider child custody, the financial strength of each spouse, the value of the separate property, and contribution to marital property acquisition before making a ruling.
However, the division of property does not have to be contested. You can agree with your spouse and your attorneys to divide your property out of court. This will save you money and time and give you control over personal properties such as pieces of jewelry that you may not have in court.
How A Divorce Attorney Can Help
Although the state uses a dual property model, the court will initially treat all properties as marital property. It’s your job to help the court separate your personal property from marital property. As such, you’ll need the help of a skilled divorce attorney to help you prove your individual properties were purchased before marriage and without any help from your spouse.
The Betz Law Firm Is Here to Help!
Are you in St Louis, Missouri, and looking to file for divorce? Contact the Betz law firm. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the decisions involving property division, child custody, and spousal support. Contact the Betz law firm today for a free initial consultation.
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