On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Legal Separation on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
One of the main concerns that legally separated couples have is how to divide their assets, properties and debts. In Missouri, while there are no separation requirements, a couple may decide to enter into a separation agreement. These agreements can address concerns related to child support and child custody, as well as how to divide assets.
When it comes to dividing your properties and assets, the ones that were acquired during the marriage are generally considered marital property. Being that Missouri is an equitable distribution state, this means that when spouses cannot come to an agreement, the property is typically divided up equally between the two. However, this does not mean everything is split right down the middle. Rather, it is divided up in a way the courts deem as fair.
When it comes to dividing up assets though, we are talking about more than just joint savings accounts and how to divide up actual physical property, such as a house. Rather, money that is put into a retirement account by one spouse during a marriage could end up being considered joint property.
Generally though, assets that were given as individual gifts or inheritances, as well as those earned before marriage, are considered individual assets that are excluded from division.
As one can see, there are a lot of considerations to be made when it comes to property division. Especially in cases where spouses decide to go from being separated to divorced, it is important to keep in mind the decisions made in these separation agreements can end up having a significant impact. This is why many suggest talking with a family law attorney when attempting to create any type of separation agreement.
Source: The Pineapple, “Being Prepared for Life’s Transitions: Separation and Divorce,” Colleen Hasey Schuhmann, Feb. 4, 2014