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What is Considered Marital Property?

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What is Considered Marital Property?

What is Considered Marital Property?

Of the many issues that must be resolved during divorce, property division disputes are some of the most contentious. No one wants to lose the property that is most valuable to them, and disagreements often arise about who gets to keep the marital home, a vehicle, family businesses, and more. Only marital property is subject to division and disputes can arise about what constitutes marital property and what is considered separate. Below, our Missouri divorce lawyer outlines what is considered marital property in the state, and how it is divided.

What Constitutes Marital Property in Missouri?

Generally speaking, marital property is defined under state law as any assets or liabilities the couple acquired after the marriage. However, there are some exceptions to this. Property that is considered separate property, even when it is acquired during the marriage, is as follows:

  • Gifts, bequests, and inheritances
  • Assets acquired in exchange for separate assets, or exchanged for property obtained using a gift, bequest, or inheritance
  • Assets acquired by one spouse after an official decree of legal separation
  • Property defined as separate property in a previous legal document, such as a premarital agreement
  • Any increase in property value of separate property, or in accordance with any of the above exceptions, unless marital property contributed to the increase of the property and even then, only to the extent of the marital contributions

When property is obtained once the marriage is over, but before a decree of legal separation, it is considered marital property, regardless of which party’s name is on the property, unless one of the above exceptions applies. For example, if the family home was purchased during the marriage and only one person’s name is on the title, it is still considered marital property, unless an above exception applies.

How is Marital Property Divided in Divorce?

After determining which assets and liabilities are considered marital property, the court will then divide them fairly, which does not necessarily mean equally. The factors a judge will consider in property division matters include:

  • The financial circumstances of each party
  • The contribution each spouse made to the acquisition of marital property
  • The contribution each spouse made to maintaining the household
  • The value of separate property 
  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage and if there was any marital wrongdoing
  • Any custody arrangements made for minor children

The court has broad discretion when dividing property. For this reason, it is usually best for divorcing couples to reach an agreement on their own. As long as it is deemed fair, a judge will approve it and each party can walk away with the property most valuable to them.

Our Divorce Lawyer in Missouri Can Help with Your Property Division Issues

At Scott A. Hamblin, our Missouri divorce lawyer knows the complications you will face during property division disputes, and how to overcome them so you obtain the fair settlement you deserve. Call us now or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation so we can review your case.

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