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How to Separate Assets & Debts in a Divorce

Types of Debts & Assets in a Divorce

Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means that your property, assets, and debts will be divided fairly but necessarily equally. Before anything can be divided, the property and debts will need to be categorized as either:

  • Separate assets and debts. This includes any assets or debts that either party acquired before your marriage, and these assets and debts are not subject to division. Additional property may be classified as separate property as indicated herein.
  • Marital assets and debts. This may include assets or debts that either party acquired during your marriage and are subject to division. Some assets and debts can be excluded from division, which may include but is not limited to, if they were received as a gift or inheritance, obtained via an exchange for property acquired before the marriage, acquired by a spouse after legal separation, excluded by a pre-or postnuptial agreement, or the increased value of the separate property (unless marital funds or labor contributed to the increase).

Commingled Assets and Debts
In some cases, assets can be commingled, which means that something considered a separate asset or debt can be classified as a marital asset or debt. Commingling often occurs when marital funds or labor are used in the maintenance or growth of a separate asset or debt.

During your marriage, able you may ask your spouse to help manage the business accounts or provide a service to help the business that you brought into the marriage. You may be able to assert that the business was commingled and is now marital property.

Property & Debt Division

You and your soon-to-be-ex can try and negotiate a property and debt division agreement yourselves, and you must submit the agreement to the court for approval. Unless your agreement is “unconscionable” or fails to divide all marital property and debt, the court may approve your negotiated settlement. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, a judge will make the final determinations of who gets the house, your family pet, credit card balances, and other assets and debts subject to division.

Under Mo. Revised Statute § 452.330, the court will take the following factors into consideration when dividing your marital assets and debts:

  • Each party’s economic circumstances at the time of the division of property
  • The child custody agreement especially as it relates to awarding either party the family home or right to live in the home for a certain period
  • Each party’s contributions to the acquisition of the asset or debt
  • Each party’s conduct during the marriage
  • Each party’s separate assets and debts and their respective values

To prepare for the division, you should draft a list of all your assets and debts as you will need this information for negotiations as well as in completing your “Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement”. You should include the following information in your list.

  • What is considered marital or separate property and debt
  • When the debt or asset was acquired
  • Each asset or debt’s current value
  • The monthly payment amount of each debt

If you are filing for or have filed for divorce, you should immediately contact a reliable family law firm to enlist help in successfully navigating the property division process. Even if you plan to settle out of court, an attorney can help with negotiations, work to ensure your settlement is fair and legal, and connect you with needed experts (such as a forensic accountant).

Contact Galmiche Law Firm, P.C.

If you need legal counsel concerning the division of property and debts, look no further than our team. Our attorneys have 35 years of experience in family law and divorce cases. When you retain our firm, we can fight to protect your rights and interests in property and debt division matters including but not limited to:

  • Hidden assets
  • High-value assets
  • Business valuations and ownership interests
  • Pension or 401(k) plan division or protection
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

Known for our dedication to excellence and client satisfaction, Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. offers clients attentive and personalized legal services. To discuss your case with a member of our team, contact us online or call (636) 552-4841 today to schedule a free case consultation.

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