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How will our property be divided in a divorce?

Many issues must be addressed and decided during a divorce. While disputes over child custody and child support are obviously very important issues, property division is also important and can lead to heated discussions and disagreements.

There are two types of property division in the United States. Most states, including Missouri, are equitable distribution states. 10 states are community property states, meaning that all property is considered either community property or separate property. In community property states, community property is divided evenly and separate property is retained by the original owner. Equitable distribution is a bit more complex.

In equitable distribution property division, a judge will decide what is fair and equitable. Typically, the judge will consider who contributed to the collection of the property and divide it accordingly. This division may not necessarily be a 50/50 split.

The physical property is not literally split. The courts will add up the value of all the property and assets, and will award each party a percentage of the value, based upon the judge's decision. When it comes to who stays at the house, things can get even more complicated.

If children are involved, typically the custodial parent will stay in the home with the children. If no children are involved and both parties want to continue to reside there, the courts will look at state rules to make the final determination. It is important to understand that before a court's decision is made, both parties have the right to stay at the home.

Source: findlaw.com, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," Accessed on Aug. 17, 2015

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