What Counts as Marital Property in Missouri?

A common cause of anxiety for anyone considering divorce is not knowing what will happen to everything they own: house, car, furniture, gifts from family, inheritance, retirement plans and more. What is considered marital property under Missouri law, and what will happens to the property in a divorce?

Generally speaking, under the Missouri statutes, any property acquired after the date of marriage is deemed  marital property in Missouri. It will be divided equitably, either by physical distribution to a spouse or by sale of the property and a split of the proceeds. But there are exceptions to this general rule if:

  1. The property was received through an inheritance, gift, bequest, or will.
  2. A valid prenuptial agreement designates ownership of property to one spouse.
  3. The property was purchased after the couple legally separated, such as a home for the spouse who moved out of a shared home.

Conversely, property acquired before marriage is not considered marital property. However, if property that belonged to one spouse has increased in value as a direct result of marital assets (including labor) being used, such as remodeling a house, then that increase in value may be considered marital property.

In addition, Missouri courts seek a “just” division and equitable distribution of assets. That means taking into account each party’s economic circumstances, and how much each party contributed to property that was bought or built together, such as a retirement plan. A judge may look at the value of all non-marital property, and may make adjustments elsewhere to correct a sizable imbalance. They also may consider the conduct of each party during the marriage.

Speaking with an experienced divorce attorney can give you guidance on what documents are needed to prove property is not marital.  A consultation can help allay fears and give you a much clearer picture of how the courts will treat your unique circumstances.

With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. Be sure to follow us on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Share our articles with others! For questions or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact our team.