One of the most contentious issues in a divorce is property division. This is particularly true of high net worth divorces, and divorces where significant mutual property was accumulated. Here’s what you need to know about marital property in Missouri and how to get the legal help and advocacy you need during this challenging time.
Missouri law divides property into two categories:
Under Missouri law, marital property is defined as property that was accumulated during the marriage. It does not matter which spouse accumulated the property: If it occurred during the marriage, it is considered marital property.
Non-marital property is less cut and dry. Most commonly, non-marital property is property accumulated by one spouse before the marriage. However, in some instances, property accumulated during the marriage is considered non-marital property. If one spouse inherits a sum of money from a deceased family member’s will, this would be considered non-marital property. Gifts are considered non-marital property as well, even if it is a gift from one spouse to another.
The distinction between marital and non-marital property is important. When it comes to property division, Missouri courts can only legally divide marital property. Non marital property must stay with the spouse to whom it belongs.
In cases where there are numerous assets to divide between spouses, or there is a great deal of marital vs non-marital property, being represented by an experienced divorce lawyer is crucial. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, it is even more critical that you secure legal advocacy as soon as possible. If at all possible, an attorney can help you and your ex-spouse reach an amicable property agreement that you can then submit to a judge. This means that you and your ex-spouse decide how you want to divide the property; then, formal paperwork is given to a judge for approval.
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, the next step is to pursue litigation and allow a judge to decide for you how your marital property will be divided.
Contact the Haefner Law Office today for a consultation to discuss your legal options at (314) 200-6101.