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What factors lead to a just property division in divorce?

Many couples in Missouri may think nothing of opening joint bank accounts after they get married, and depositing all money or paying all bills from that account. Where that ordinarily may be fine, if their marriage does not last, it could end up being a problem as the court would have to determine how to split the property between them. In Missouri, the courts assume that property acquired after the couple got married is marital property. This means that property can be divided in the event of a divorce.

What does not qualify as marital property? Generally, inheritances, wills or bequests are not considered. In addition to this, property that was acquired by exchanging separate property, or property designated as separate through an agreement, such as a premarital agreement. Interestingly, even where non-marital property is comingled with marital property, courts might not divide it in Missouri.

Property division then takes place after the courts consider a number of factors. As per law, the court will look at the economic circumstances of each party, and the contribution of each party to acquiring the marital property, while deciding what a just outcome should be. In addition to this, the court can also look at the conduct of each party during the marriage and the custody agreements for minor children.

In order to demonstrate one's position during property division deliberations, individuals may have to present a number of documents, but it can be a confusing process. It might be beneficial to consider consulting an experienced Missouri attorney for guidance to ensure the division is indeed a just one.

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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