We all enter marriages with the best intentions and want things to last. That being said, sometimes marriage ends in divorce. Knowing how things will be split if you decide to divorce can be helpful. In the state of Missouri, help with divorce and asset division may be necessary.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Missouri?
In many states, it is a requirement of the court to prove grounds for divorce. This means that both parties, or one party, or whoever is filing for divorce, need to prove that there are grounds for divorce and that you essentially have a reason for the divorce.
In Missouri, there is no need to prove that there is a reason for divorce. Missouri has what is considered a no-fault divorce. This means neither party has to prove a reason for the divorce; it can be filed as a divorce on irreconcilable differences. You can, in some cases, put forth the reason for divorce, and then you can use that as a means of negotiating things like child support, child custody, and even things like how to divide and set up the division of assets.
How Are Assets Divided in Missouri?
The first thing that comes with the division of assets is to get the divorce done and out of the way. You can start negotiations for the division of assets before the divorce is final to finalized when the divorce goes through. If you are waiting for the divorce to finalize, you may want to start thinking about division and thinking about how you and your former spouse want to divide your assets.
With divorces that are not contested, that is unanimous, and that are agreed upon by both parties, often they can figure out how they want to divide the assets before the divorce goes through. Suppose you have a prenup or any sort of legal agreement that was made prior to the marriage. In that case, it is the court’s job to first go through those papers and that division before they do anything else or before they entertain any other division.
If there is no prenup and no other agreement in place, you can start negotiating. If you have a home together and you are both on the mortgage, and neither party wants to take possession or split the cost of the home, the home is likely to be sold, and the proceeds will be split evenly. As far as the possessions that you own are also likely to be split evenly between parties.
If you have children, the possessions might be divided differently. A great way to think about it is if you have children and one party wants to stay in the home, the property may be transferred to one party or other, and the other party may get equal assets or have to be bought out of their half of the house or their half of the value of the house.
If one party is contesting the divorce or is contesting the division of assets, they may be divided differently. Say, for instance, one party owned the home, the car, or some other large item of value before marriage. That was an asset that belonged to one person before the marriage started. The judge may award that asset to the individual that owned it before the marriage.
Suppose there is anything attained during the marriage and both parties paid for it or helped to purchase it. In that case, these are going to be considered marital assets and will likely be divided during the divorce proceedings. It is important to note that for most cases unless there is some clear ownership or clear division, the court is likely to divide assets evenly between both parties involved.
Cases In Which Assets are Not Divided Equally
The most common cases in which the assets of a marriage are not going to be divided equally are in cases of a contested divorce. If the divorce is contested, it does require that the court goes and looks at the divorce, the grounds for the divorce, and then tries to figure out what might affect how the assets are to be divided.
If you have a divorce that was initiated on the claims of abuse or neglect, if that is proven, the spouse that was neglected or abused may be entitled to more of the assets of the marriage than the other party. In this case, it is important that the attorney you have working with you be able to prove that there was either abuse or neglect that led to the need for the divorce.
Still, another case in which one party may be entitled to more of the marital assets than the other is if one party was responsible for making the money and obtaining the assets. Say, for instance, you have one party that does not work while the other is the main money maker, and they are the ones that make the large purchases. In this case, the one making all the money may be able to argue that they are entitled to more of the assets than their former spouse.
You might also notice that if you are dealing with a marriage in which both parties do not have their names on things, the party that does not have their name on the larger items may have to fight for their half. Say you purchased a home while married; if both parties did not have their name on the home, the one that does have their name on the home is more likely to get that asset after the divorce.
An unequal division of assets may also be the result of kids and how the custody agreement for those children goes. If one party gets primary custody of the children, they may be given more assets and be awarded things like the main vehicle, the home, and more. If there are children involved, the likelihood that the assets will not be evenly divided is even greater.
With children, the court wants to help ensure that the child does not have a change in their quality of life. This that they are going to do all they can to ensure that these children are not going to see any change in their quality of life due to the divorce. So, those that do get primary custody of the child may get a larger portion of the assets than the other party.
Why are Most Assets Split Evenly?
Most marital assets are split evenly between both parties due to the fact that in order to have a divorce with irreconcilable differences and without providing a reason for the divorce, there has to be an even split. If there is not one party at fault, it is often the court’s opinion that the assets should be divided evenly unless there is some prior agreement before the marriage.
If you have a marriage in which both parties signed a prenup, certain things are going to be protected as assets that were present before the marriage. Then anything made after that is going to be split evenly as marital assets. It is important, even if you have a prenup, that you do take the time to attain a lawyer in a divorce.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When it comes to a divorce that is contested or does not have an agreement for the division of assets, a lawyer is going to be your best means of getting a fair shake and a fair division of the assets that you have accumulated. A lawyer will be able to help you in a few ways; first, they will be able to list out the assets and then work to find a fair means of division that both parties are likely to agree to.
If you have one party that feels they are entitled to more than the other, your lawyer will be able to help you figure out how to fight that and ensure that your assets are protected in divorce. A lawyer will be able to help create a fair division of assets, help to prove that one party is entitled to different assets, and help you figure out things like child custody, alimony, and even child support.
A divorce lawyer can help you in a plethora of ways and can help ensure that your divorce is not only approved and that it goes through, but that it is also fair for all parties involved. A divorce is not something anyone wants to deal with; that being said, it can still be very difficult to deal with and can be challenging to really understand what is happening.
Your lawyer will work with you to figure out what is going on, to help you get your part of the assets figured out, and they can also help you to make sure that you get a fair deal with the division of assets. In Missouri, it is most likely that the court will work to divide the assets between both parties.
A lawyer is a must; they can help you through every step of your divorce.