Marital Property vs. Nonmarital Property:
What Is The Difference and How Can These Effect Me?
The state of Missouri, along with 41 other states, is not a community property state Missouri is actually an equitable distribution state or dual property state, meaning that the concepts of marital property and nonmarital property exist within divorce litigations in Missouri.
That being said those terms must be defined before we proceed.
All property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage EXCEPT:
(1) Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
(2) Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
(3) Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation;
(4) Property excluded by valid written agreement of the parties; and
(5) The increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage or pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (4) of this subsection, unless marital assets including labor, have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of such contributions.
Examples: Standard cases of marital property that are routinely divided during Missouri divorces include but are not limited to: real estate, land, or motor vehicles that were acquired during the course of the legal marriage.
Also, any debts the couple accrued during the period of the legal marriage also are subject to division during divorce. It is worth noting that this usually doesn't apply to debt incurred under just one party's name; however although typical, it is not guaranteed.
Material possessions the spouses didn't share during the marriage and belonged to one spouse only; or any asset bought prior to the marriage becoming solidified legally.
Example: If one of the spouses brought a car into the marriage, that car is a non-marital asset. Same goes for a boat, a home, an airplane, or an expensive heirloom. If it was brought into the marriage by one party, that item is considered nonmarital or separate property.
Now that we have established an understanding of some basic Missouri legal definitions we can get down to what they have to do with you, and your divorce.
Anyone going through a divorce is going to be feeling some sort of negative emotions. Those emotions can range from sadness, anger, hopelessness, worry, regret, and a broad spectrum of other intense feelings.
These types of emotions can lead to irrational decision making, that could potentially make the divorce process harder on you, and force you to have to deal with the consequences of any irrational decisions that may have been in this legal process for many years to come.
In many cases, one spouse may be willing to forgo their legal rights to their assets in an attempt to show the other partner that they care, or they want to mend their relationship.
Every situation is unique, and should be discussed with an unbiased litigator who is on your side, and is able to see things without an emotional lens being used to focus on highly important decisions that need to be made. Ultimately the choice is always in the hand of the client on what their legal goals are, and our firm will fight for those goals.
However, we also will advise you on options that you may not be aware of at the time of the divorce proceedings.
Rarely, does giving up legal rights to assets, lead to the reunification of spouses; and if it does the relationship more than likely is not going to be healthy long term if it is rooted in finances or material possessions.
If your partner wanting to be with you, is contingent on their rights to your financial or material assets, it is generally safe to say the union should be dissolved. Again, everyones situation is unique and the client is always able to make their own decisions regarding their assets.
This section is merely a warning to not let your emotions skew your logic, and be manipulated to choose to give up finances or any sort of asset you have a legal right to, in order to potentially save a marriage.
Marriage should be a union of two people who love each other, and want the best for one another regardless of financial assets.
Here at The Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we will protect you from being a victim of manipulation techniques when your emotional well being, as well as your financial future is at stake.
Understand your rights, and do not give up your rights.
If the marriage is meant to be, the assets and financial matters in question, will not end up mattering to your spouse.
With that being said, you have been given certain rights for a reason and that is to protect yourself. You also have the right to hire passionate and educated legal counsel, that will do their due diligence in fighting for you to keep your rights, and make sure you are protected from becoming a victim of emotional manipulation.
At the Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we have the exact attorneys on our team to help you during these uncertain and volatile times.
Please, do not hesitate to give us a call or send us a message.
Our team is eager to get started in helping you make these decisions in a safe, personalized way, that will serve your legal goals, as well as you and your family's future in the most logical and ideal way possible.