Marital Property: Who Owns What?
Statement of Property and Debt
When you file for dissolution of marriage in Missouri, the law requires you to file several forms, including a statement of property and debt. You must complete and file this form even if you've already divided your property before filing for dissolution.
It's important to understand that the court can't finalize your dissolution of marriage until and unless both spouses complete and sign the document.
Types of Property Divided in a Missouri Divorce Proceeding
When couples go through a divorce, they need to address a variety of issues, including how to divvy up their property (assets). Assets can include "real property," such as homes and land, and "personal property," such as bank accounts, cash, cars, furniture, collectibles, jewelry, clothing, bank accounts, investments, and retirement benefits.
Missouri is a "dual-property" state, which means that, for divorce purposes, the court will further break down property into two categories: "marital property" and "non-marital property."
Before you make any decisions about who gets the house in a divorce or what to do with any other property, you'll need to understand the difference between "marital" and "non-marital property." It's essential to make this distinction because family law courts only have the power to divide "marital property."
Marital Property in Missouri
Missouri law assumes that all property is marital unless a spouse can prove that something is non-marital. This rule applies to both real and personal property. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.330 (2).)
For the most part, it doesn't matter whether the title is in one spouse's name or both; the law assumes that an asset belongs equally to both spouses if either spouse acquired it after the date the couple married.
There are, however, some important exceptions to this general rule. For instance, if Spouse A adds Spouse B's name to a deed of non-marital property, and Spouse B later proves in court that Spouse A had a "donative" intent (meaning, wanted to make a gift), there is a possibility that the property may be "transmuted" (changed) to marital property.
These and other exceptions can be difficult to analyze on your own. If you're having trouble identifying property in your divorce, contact our office at (417)-553-4352 or (816)-503-6739.
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