Being fearful about the price tag of getting divorced traps some individuals in unfulfilling marriages, but it does not have to be this way. Knowing how a divorce proceeding works and how to prepare for it can help individuals who are interested in ending their marriage to embark on this process with confidence. Here are a couple of important facts to know about the handling of finances – namely assets and debt — during divorce in Missouri.
The state of Missouri is an equitable distribution state. This means that when two people get divorced in the state, a judge will divide their assets in a manner that he or she deems equitable, or fair. As a result, based on their unique circumstances, one spouse may end up with 40% of their shared assets, whereas the other one receives 60%. However, the longer the marriage, the likelihood increases that assets and debts will be divided equally. This equitable distribution approach is somewhat different from the procedure used in a community property state, where marital assets are split equally, or 50/50, during a divorce.
When it comes to debt, a family court judge views any debt that a person had before the marriage as his or her separate debt. The person cannot offload this debt onto the other party. However, any debts that were accumulated during the marriage would be split in what the judge considers to be a just manner.
Where to turn for help
If two divorcing parties can find common ground regarding their assets and debts, they may be able to avoid litigating the issues in court. Instead, they can work toward generating a settlement agreement outside of court that reflects both of their wishes. An experienced family law attorney can guide a divorcing individual through this process with the goal of achieving a fair agreement that upholds his or her client’s rights and best long-term interests.