One of the most complex aspects of a divorce can be the division of property. As an experienced Missouri family law attorney, I will guide you through the process and explain how property is divided in a divorce in Missouri.
Missouri's Approach to Property Division
Missouri follows an "equitable distribution" model for property division in a divorce. This means the court aims to divide the marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally. Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition of property, the value of the property, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and each party's behavior during the marriage are among the factors considered by the court.
Differentiating Marital and Separate Property
Not all property is subject to division in a divorce. In general, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, while property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage is separate property. However, there can be exceptions, and the lines can sometimes blur, especially with commingled assets.
The Process of Property Division
1. Identification: All assets and debts are identified and categorized as either marital or separate property.
2. Valuation: Each item of marital property is given a monetary value, often requiring appraisals or expert valuations.
3. Division: The court divides the marital property equitably between the spouses, considering various factors such as each spouse's economic circumstances and the custodial arrangements for any children.
Role of a Family Law Attorney
The process of property division in a divorce can be complex. A skilled Missouri family law attorney can help identify and value assets, negotiate a fair division, and advocate for your interests in court if necessary.
Understanding how property is divided in a Missouri divorce is critical to ensure a fair outcome. An experienced Missouri family law attorney can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout this complex process.