Property Division

divorce and moneyDivorce and Property

In Missouri, only “marital property” is subject to division in a divorce.  “Marital property” is usually defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage.  Exceptions include inheritances, gifts, and property obtained in exchange for property acquired before the marriage, which are considered non-marital property not subject to division.

In many instances, divorcing spouses can agree between themselves on who gets what property and who pays which debts.  If the husband and wife cannot agree, the courts will decide how to distribute their marital property and debts.  Missouri is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to the distribution of the marital assets.  This does not mean that each spouse will necessarily be awarded an equal share of the couple’s property.  Rather the court will consider the following factors in making a fair division of the marital debts and property:

  • The economic circumstances of each spouse;
  • The desirability of awarding the family home to the parent who has primary custody of the children;
  • The contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of property (including the contributions of a homemaker); and
  • The value of any non-marital property awarded to either spouse.

Prior to filing your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, we will assist you with the identification, inventory, and valuation of your marital and non-marital property including:  the family home, rental or vacation properties, vehicles, banking and investment accounts, retirement funds (IRAs, 401(k)’s pensions and other retirement accounts), family owned businesses, household furniture and goods, cars, boats, jewelry, and all other property.

How is the Valuation of Marital Property Determined?

To assist in the valuation of your marital property, below are some of the documents you should be prepared to provide to your attorney:

  • Appraisals of the family home and other real estate you may own such as rental or vacation properties;
  • The market value of your vehicles – this information can be obtained by visiting online valuation sites such as or;
  • Current statements of bank, investment, and retirement accounts;
  • Current statements for any debt you or your spouse may have such as a mortgage, car loan, credit card debt, or signature loans.

Gathering the necessary financial information can be a daunting task but we are here to help.  We have a licensed CPA on staff who can help you sort through the jumble of financial information to locate the documents that will be relevant to your divorce.  For more complex divorces,  we work with certified valuation experts to determine the market value of businesses or partnerships.  Our attorneys will work to protect your rights and interests and fight for your fair share of the marital assets.