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How Do Assets Get Divided in a Divorce?

How to divide property and marital assets in a divorce? It’s an important topic to understand if you are considering separating from your spouse. Get the facts from Masterson Law.

Summer Masterson-Goethals
Masterson Law
(417) 522-1280
1771 S. Fremont
Springfield, MO 65804

How Do Assets Get Divided in a Divorce?

A person rarely intends for the relationship to end when they get married, but if it does, they likely wonder: “How does marital property gets divided in a divorce?” Divorce laws and estate laws vary by state. If you want to understand better what your rights and responsibilities are, it is best to discuss the laws of marital property division with a reputable attorney like Masterson Law, who knows the law on divorce.

To ensure your equity, assets, and debts are not unfairly distributed, it is important to have adequate advocacy and representation. The right family law firm will provide expert legal advice about the distribution of marital property owned by a couple.

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Community property consisting of all profits and assets accumulated throughout the marital relationship, including whatever was obtained with those incomes, are usually subject to equitable distribution. All financial obligations sustained throughout the partnership, such as debts, are generally considered communal responsibilities.

However, the State of Missouri is not a community property state but an equitable distribution state. That means the court will first divide property as marital property and non-marital property. Further on, a Missouri judge would divide marital property by equitable distribution, in a way that is considered equitably (fairly) but not necessarily equally.

When considering how the division of property and debts go in a divorce, it is wise to consult a firm knowledgeable in divorce laws. An attorney can help you better understand how it may affect your family’s property division.

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Divorce Splitting Assets Such as Real Estate

When children are involved, the one spouse who invests the most time with the kids, or who takes the main responsibility for their medical care, generally stays in the marital home with them.

In community property states, if you do not have children and your home is specifically owned by one partner, the one who has the mortgage or lease in their name may be considered the legal owner. He or she may then have the right to ask the other to leave, or they may have to follow tenant notification rules and give the other spouse time to move out.

If you are getting divorced in Springfield, MO, and are interested in how to separate property or have other divorce questions, consult a local and reputable Missouri family lawyer.

Divorce Splitting Assets

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Navigating the Division of Assets in Divorce

To further complicate the division of assets and debts in a divorce, if you do not have children and you and your spouse own the home together, neither of you has a legal right to kick the other out. You can request the other individual leave, however, you can not enforce it. If you and your partner do not decide on suitable property distribution, the court will choose for you throughout the divorce proceedings or with the assistance of your attorney.

If your partner alters the locks or security system or otherwise prohibits you from going into the house, you can call the authorities. The police will most likely direct him or her to let you back in. When you both own the house, the only time you can insist your partner leave is if your partner has actually committed domestic violence resulting in a mandated restraining order.

A dedicated family law firm knowledgeable in marital property division will advise you on the specific divorce laws that are relevant to you and your circumstances.

Division of Assets in Divorce

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Keeping Assets Separate in Marriage

Some couples prefer to keep their assets separate in marriage, whether by maintaining different homes or separate property or bank accounts. This is less common, but it simplifies divorce proceedings. Separate property is also referred to as non-marital property, meaning that it belongs to only one spouse. Courts usually don’t divide separate property during a divorce, and it stays with the person who acquired it.

Additional assets that are likely to be automatically bequeathed to one spouse over the other consist of the following:

  • Injury awards received by that partner
  • Pension earnings prior to the marital relationship
  • Presents and inheritances offered specifically to that partner
  • Privately owned business if it was not operated by both partners
  • Residential or commercial property acquired separately

But if residential or commercial property is acquired with a mix of community funds, as long as a partner has the ability to prove that a variety of funds were used to purchase or maintain them, it would be considered marital property. Individual property that was blended together with joint property usually ends up being community property.

Some divorces are complicated scenarios best untangled by a dispute resolution lawyer with experience in the laws of property distribution.

Keeping Assets Separate in Marriage

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What Items Are Considered Assets in a Divorce?

There is a fairly standard list of items that are considered assets in a divorce that is true in most states. This list includes a home or real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, any family businesses. Other items that may be counted as assets include vehicles, life insurance policies, household goods, and more.

When deciding how those assets are divided, it is good to weigh the pros and cons. Do you want a lengthy and expensive court battle?

It is a winning scenario for a separating couple to choose to divide their home and financial obligations themselves (with or without the assistance of a neutral third party like a mediator).

This is usually much less expensive than leaving it to the judge. If a couple can not agree, they can take their case to the court, which uses state law to divide the residential or commercial property. If children or large estates are involved, it is necessary to take the matter to court.

Regardless, it is a good idea to get a consultation with a divorce attorney to know your rights and responsibilities.

What Items Are Considered Assets in a Divorce

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What Are Marital Assets and How Are They Divided?

When discussing your marital property, assets and debts, it is crucial to realize that bank accounts, investments, real estate, and most items of property acquired during the marriage are often included and may be considered marital property. Rather than offering the property to one party, the court may use a property equitable distribution concept and award each spouse a percentage of the overall worth of the sale of the property.

Each partner will get personal effects, possessions, and financial obligations whose worth amounts to his or her portion. It is unlawful for either partner to conceal properties in order to protect them during the divorce process.

Final Considerations Regarding the Divorce

During difficult divorces, people are sometimes pushed to the brink and make inadvisable choices. Whatever you do, do not lie or declare that domestic violence has happened simply to remove your partner from the house, retaliate, or increase your portion of the marital assets upon divorce.

When a judge believes this has occurred, the individual making the accusation might actually be further penalized and be asked to leave their family’s home. It will also likely prejudice the judge against him or her throughout future settlements. If you are a victim, the regional domestic violence hotline is available to help, and your attorney will be able to assist you as well.

For additional information, advice, and representation, contact Masterson Law.

What Are Marital Assets

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Summer Masterson-Goethals
Consumer and family lawyer, former legal aid attorney and Missouri Bar Leadership Academy member, Springfield Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree. Site Map

Masterson Law
3030 E. Battlefield, Suite A
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 522-1280