Like most jurisdictions, Missouri is an equitable distribution state. Upon divorce, the court must divide marital property equitably. It is important to note that is not necessarily the same thing as equally. Some factors to consider include the standard of living during the marriage, relative earning capacity of the spouses, and the length of the relationship. Obviously, an equitable distribution is impossible unless all marital property is accounted for.
The divorce property division process is essentially twofold. First, a Liberty divorce attorney must identify and classify all marital and nonmarital property. This process is often difficult since these kinds of property often mix. Then, your attorney must divide the property in such a way that upholds your legal and financial rights.
Some Possible Red Flags
It can be tempting for a divorcing party to hide assets from their partner. Usually, the warning signs are rather easy to spot. Some examples include:
- Correspondence addressed to unfamiliar corporate entities
- Account alerts which suddenly stop coming
- Asset sales that have little or no supporting paperwork
- Sudden income declines
That last bullet point is probably the most common asset-hiding effort, particularly if alimony is an issue. The husband could over-withhold taxes to artificially reduce his income. Then, in the spring, he gets that money back in the form of a larger tax refund check.
If you spot a red flag, it is usually best to let your attorney handle the matter. Confronting your spouse usually prompts her/him to use more sophisticated asset concealment methods which are harder to identify.
In pretty much every area of life, the truth eventually comes out. That is usually the case with hidden assets in a divorce. Typically, attorneys use the discovery process to find these hidden assets.
Discovery is usually either the shortest or most time-consuming portion of a divorce case. Document requests, witness depositions, and property inspections are the most common divorce discovery tools. If people are caught hiding assets, the judge usually imposes harsh penalties on them.
Hidden asset discovery often involves some necessary intrusive measures which could impact privacy rights. An attorney must be able to defend these requests in court.
For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Liberty, contact Aramjoo Law Firm, LLC. Virtual and phone meetings are available.
Is Missouri a 50-50 division state?
Usually yes. But the judge may order an unequal distribution in some cases.
What’s the difference between marital and non-marital property?
Any property or debt acquired before the marriage or by gift is non-marital property. Most other property is usually considered marital property. There are some exceptions to this rule which should be discussed thoroughly with your attorney.
Do the same division rules apply to marital debts?
Yes. Marital debts are part of the marital estate.