When you build a life together with your spouse, its only natural to accumulate a few possessions over the years. Unfortunately, when couples seek a divorce, they have to decide how these assets will be divided when they go their separate ways.
Whether you were married for a few months or a few decades, the division of assets in a divorce can be a complex issue, and often one of the most challenging. If you are going through a divorce, make sure you know how your property is going to be divided.
Types of Property
In Missouri, all property within a marriage can be categorized as either marital or separate property. Marital property includes any property acquired during the marriage, which means it is the property of both spouses, jointly. Anything shared, including vehicles, the house, bank accounts, or debt, will likely be considered marital property. Separate property, on the other hand, includes any property owned by one spouse, usually before the marriage took place. Some examples of separate property may include heirlooms, inheritances, or personal gifts.
The Division Process
Separate property is usually retained by the original owner and is typically not subject to division in a divorce. Marital property, however, is divided in an “equitable” manner. Couples may choose to divide their assets on their own, outside of court, through a process called mediation. However, if couples are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they will have to go to court for assistance. When in court, the judge will seek to divide all marital properties in a way that is equitable, but not necessarily equal.
The court will consider how each spouse contributed to building those assets during the marriage. Some contributions include financial support, care for the family home, support of the other spouse, and so on.
If you are going through a divorce, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the process before you. To prepare yourself for your upcoming divorce and to protect your assets, make sure you discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.
Contact Smith Law Offices, LLC to discuss your family law case with our St. Charles divorce attorneys.