How does Missouri define marital property?

When a couple decides to divorce, splitting property can be an awkward and complicated issue. Determining who has the right to what is not an easy task, particularly at the end of a long-term marriage.

Divorce courts in Missouri will look at the marital property of the couple and work to divide it in as equitable a fashion as possible. But what exactly is marital property?

After the marriage date

All possessions and assets acquired by a couple after the marriage date are considered marital property under Missouri law. Common types of marital property include real estate or automobiles acquired after marriage. It also includes any debt accrued together, but not debt incurred under one party’s name.

However, there are exceptions to what is considered marital property. These include:

  • Any property received in a will, inheritance, gift or bequest
  • Any property acquired through an exchange with property that itself was acquired prior to the marriage or through a will/gift
  • Any property acquired by either party following a legal separation

When it comes to inheritances, the court will not consider them subject to division if you retain a receipt or record of the inheritance or if it can be traced in some other way. If it cannot be traced, however, it will be considered marital property. One situation in which this might arise is if you were to deposit an inheritance check into a joint bank account and throw away any records of the deposit.

Property division can be incredibly complicated, especially when determining what was acquired before the marriage or after the separation, as well as what assets acquired during the marriage would be considered an exception to marital property. A family law attorney can work with divorcing couples to help determine these issues and ensure equitable division.

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