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What factors affect property division in Missouri?

Ending a marriage is not a simple legal process. Any Missouri resident currently going through a divorce may be wondering who will get the house, the art collection, the cars, the stocks and bonds and the bank accounts. You and your spouse may be thinking of simply selling everything and splitting the proceeds.

Do not act too quickly. Without knowing enough about property division, you may get less than you deserve. Every divorcing spouse should understand the basics of property division in the state to determine which properties and assets can be divided and which will remain yours as part of the divorce settlement.

Assuming that you and your spouse have been state residents for at least 90 days, then marital property or property obtained during the marriage will be divided during property settlement first and foremost. Any inherited properties or bequest or gifts or any property declared to be separate property in written accords such as prenuptial agreements are not subject to division and are retained solely by an individual.

Courts consider four main factors when determining how to divide marital property. First, each party's relative contribution to acquiring marital property is assessed. Second, the conduct of both parties during the course of the marriage is evaluated. Third, each spouse's separate property is valued even though it may have been commingled during the marriage. Fourth, the child-custody arrangement -- especially when the disposition of the marital home is being determined -- is considered.

When dealing with property division, parting spouses may wish to try alternative options before they head to litigation. If issues cannot be settled through alternative options, then they can be taken to court where a judge can make a final decision.

Source: Hg.org, "Missouri divorce law," accessed on Aug. 11, 2014

Source: Hg.org, "Missouri divorce law," accessed on Aug. 11, 2014

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