Cavanagh & Associates successfully represents you.
During your marriage, you worked hard to accumulate property, assets, and personal belongings. Now that you are divorcing, those assets and debts that you acquired will need to be divided. Before discussing property division with a spouse, it is important to understand the difference between marital and non-marital property, your assets and their values, debts, and tax considerations.
You only have one chance to get a desirable property settlement. At Cavanagh & Associates, you can be sure that your rights and financial future will be protected to the fullest extent of the law. Our founder, St. Louis lawyer Jack Cavanagh, has handled over 100 trials to judge and jury. He has more than 50 years of legal experience, and he applies this considerable experience to his clients’ cases. If you are concerned about the division of property in your divorce, your interests are best represented by a firm with the experience and resources ours has to offer.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
In a divorce, if an agreement on property division can be reached by the spouses, the agreement is often approved by the court. When a couple is unable to agree on their own, the courts will divide the marital property only. One of the greatest challenges of property division in a divorce comes from the determination of marital and non-marital property, and this is one area where your St. Louis attorney can make a significant impact. By properly presenting your case in regard to personal property, real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other assets, your attorney can protect your financial stability.
Depending on the specific circumstances, the following may apply to the determination of marital versus non-marital property in a Missouri divorce:
- Marital property is generally defined as any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Some exceptions may apply for gifted property or property excluded by a prenuptial agreement.
- Non-marital property includes those assets or items owned by an individual prior to the marriage.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
Missouri is an equitable distribution state. Equitable does not mean that property will be divided equally, but that it will be divided in a fair manner. First, the court will exclude any non-marital property for each spouse before dividing marital property and marital debt. Then, the court will divide marital property equitably among spouses.
The following governing factors may apply to equitable distribution:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marital property
- The value of non-marital property owned by each spouse
- Each spouse’s conduct during the marriage
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
When Individual Assets Cannot Be Divided
If individual assets cannot be divided or split up, the judge will take into consideration the values of assets and the debts against them, and will often award assets of similar value to each party. The courts may also require that one spouse pay an amount to the other to balance the equities, or order than an asset be liquidated and divided between the spouses.
At Cavanagh & Associates, our St. Louis divorce attorneys can address the unique factors in your marital property division and protect your interests throughout your divorce process. Representing clients in St. Louis, St. Charles, Chesterfield, and the surrounding areas, we are prepared to protect your financial interests and to forward your wishes regarding property division.
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