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What can I expect during property division of a divorce?

Among the issues that must be discussed during the process of divorce, including possibly child custody, child support, and alimony, property division can be a very complicated and contentious issue to discuss and resolve among divorcing couples. Property division is even more complex if no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was formed prior to the divorce.

Missouri, like a majority of states in the U.S., is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the distribution of property, finances, and assets are divided according to a court decision, and are not necessarily divided fifty-fifty. There are three types of property involved in property division: community property, which is property collected during the course of a marriage; separate property which is property from before a marriage, or gifts, court awards, inheritances and pensions; and commingled funds, which include purchases made through a combination of separate and community property.

So what's included in property division? All items of value, including items of sentimental value, will be assigned a type of property and value, and will be included in the property division process. These items include, but are not limited to: real estate property, family businesses and business investments and assets, home furnishings, retirement benefits, motor and recreational vehicles, personal property, savings and checking accounts, investments such as stocks and bonds, retirement benefits such as pensions, IRAs, and 401(k) plans, hidden assets, and for a parent who stayed at home to take care of the home or raise children, possible compensation for contributions as child caretaker or homemaker. In addition, debts are taken into consideration under the property division process.

Understanding the complexities and potential problems that may arise during the property division process is important to help you along as you go through a divorce.

Source: findlaw.com, "Checklist: Issues to Discuss with your Divorce Attorney", Accessed May 12, 2015

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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