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Marital property laws shape outcomes of high-asset divorces

One of the most important issues that has to be settled in any divorce case is property division. Divorcing individuals who have little in the way of property or assets may find their division relatively easy compared to divorcing couples who have amassed considerable properties. Missouri residents may be familiar with high-asset divorce cases involving high-profile individuals such as celebrities and politicians. In most of these cases, divorce became contentious because considerable properties and assets were involved.

Before starting a high-net worth divorce, it is important to understand the marital property laws that are most likely to affect the outcome of property division. In Missouri, all property and assets obtained during the course of marriage are considered marital property and thus are divided. Aside from property and assets, though, debts also can be subject to division, unless they were primarily accrued by one party or where a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement has stipulated the party responsible for paying these debts.

Nonmarital property -- or that property obtained as gifts or as inheritance -- is not subject to division. However, divorcing individuals should note that any property that came from an inheritance or as a gift that was later commingled with marital property may be subject to division if the owner of that property cannot provide proof of inheritance.

Divorcing individuals should determine which properties are marital and which are nonmarital before property division. By doing so, they will be able to determine the amount of each property that will be subject to division or have someone appraise the marital property for equitable distribution. Honesty is the key to fair division of properties and assets. If both parties are transparent and honest, then both parties are likely to obtain their fair share of the marriage's properties and assets.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Missouri marital property laws," accessed on Aug. 20, 2014

Source: Findlaw.com, "Missouri marital property laws," accessed on Aug. 20, 2014

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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