Property division during divorce can be brutal. For spouses with complicated assets, the process can be long and expensive and the results frustrating at best. One of the most complicated assets to divide is a pension. Keep reading to learn more.

Property Division in MO

When spouses file for divorce, they must undergo the property division process. This means that marital property is divided while separate property stays under the person’s ownership. Marital property is everything acquired during the marriage with few exceptions. Houses, cars, bank accounts, and retirement accounts may be subject to division if owned jointly.

Separate property includes assets or debts gained or earned before or after the marriage. It may also include gifts or inheritances. Settlements and awards given to one spouse and not the other may also remain separate and may not be subject to division.

For example, a car left to one spouse as part of their inheritance is separate however if the car was purchased with a joint bank account then it may be marital property.

Hiding Assets

It is common to “hide assets” during divorce to protect them, but doing so is ill advised. In fact, some forms of concealment may even be illegal.

Some spouses attempt to hide assets in the following ways:

  • Taking out private loans from friends or relatives to give the appearance of financial difficulties
  • Funneling funds through an employee or friends only to claim them later
  • Intentionally undervaluing assets
  • Liquidating funds to acquire physical assets like artwork that will appreciate in value

Hiding assets is a breach of fiduciary duty to the court during property division and is not permitted.


Pensions are retirement accounts that a person may pay into or earn over the course of their employment. Military pensions are set at a specific total based on rank and years of service.

The key to understanding pensions during divorce is knowing whether it was earned during the marriage or before. If the pension was earned, in its entirety, before the marriage, it may not be subject to division. However, if any part of it was earned during the marriage, the value may be divided during divorce.

Protect Your Assets

If you or your spouse has filed for divorce, you must retain legal support immediately. Protecting valuable assets like a pension or investments is complicated but possible with the right guidance. Our team at Smith Law Offices, LLC can assist you with your divorce settlement and help you pursue the most optimal result.

Contact our firm today for more information.

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