Lawmakers in Missouri have tried tirelessly to improve divorce proceedings in the state. This has led to the writing of two new parenting bills, both of which aim to give both parents more equal time with their children.
Missouri also has several laws on the books detailing how a divorcing couple will divide property. To figure this out, the couple will need to divide everything into either separate or marital property. By understanding the differences, each spouse can try to retain the property they believe should be theirs.
Separate property, also referred to as non-marital property, relates to anything that only one spouse owns. The court will not divide separate property in a divorce because one spouse acquired it without using marital funds. The most common items that fall into this category involve anything one spouse bought prior to the marriage. That means that if one spouse purchased an expensive painting or a car before the marriage, then those items remain with that one person in the event that the marriage ends.
Marital property refers to anything a spouse purchased within the marriage. Missouri law pretty much assumes everything is marital property, unless a spouse can prove otherwise. Because many couples combine assets and bank accounts in a marriage, anything purchased using funds within that joint bank account is marital property.
There is a third category known as commingled property. This refers to a couple blending separate and marital property together. For example, one spouse may make a down payment on a house using his or her own money prior to the marriage. Afterward, the couple pays the monthly mortgage payments using joint funds. This separate property has now become a commingled asset because both spouses have now put money toward the item. Missouri courts use various formulas to determine who gets what during a divorce in a fair and equitable manner.