Divorce can be a complicated situation for all couples in Missouri. The issues that come up for dispute are many and one that is frequently problematic is how property division and debts will be handled. Understanding how the law deals with property and debts is imperative when the case is moving forward. While it is preferable for the parties to come to an amicable agreement, that is not always possible. So, having a grasp of the law can avoid being a negative outcome.

When coming to a determination with property and debts, the court will set aside the non-marital property and it will go to the party entitled to it. With marital property and debts, there are many factors that the court will consider. The economic situations of the spouses when the property division will go into effect — including whether one or both want to retain the family home and reside there for the spouse who has custody of children — will be considered.

Spouses often make contributions to the acquisition of the property and that can include a spouse who was a homemaker. This will be factored in. Some items have significant value, and this must be weighed. Conduct that the parties engaged in while married will be assessed. If there are minor children, this will be a factor in the property and debt division.

Marital property and what it encompasses can often be confusing. Marital property will be anything that was acquired by either one of the spouses, while they were married except for the following: property that was acquired as a gift, due to descent, devise or bequest; property that was acquired in exchange for property that had been acquired before the marriage or came about as a gift, via descent, devise or bequest; property that the spouse acquired after they were legally separated; property that had been excluded through a written agreement; and property that was acquired before the marriage and increased in value unless there were spousal contributions that led to the increase. Non-marital property will not automatically become marital property, if there was commingling.

Divorce issues can be difficult and one that is often contentious is the division or property and allocation of debt. Having legal assistance with a case can help the spouses retain the property that was non-marital and in coming to an agreement or getting the marital property that the spouse wants to retain. A lawyer experienced in these and other areas of divorce can help with these matters.