When it comes to a Missouri divorce, a wife does not have special property rights compared to their spouse. Under the law, there is no priority for wives over husbands when it comes to things like property division or spousal support.
Every case is different, and each divorce is considered on its merits. For that reason, there is no simple way to determine what a wife is entitled to in a Missouri divorce. To ensure you are treated fairly, it is important to seek out legal counsel.
The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is ready to serve as your advocate during your divorce case. We believe you are entitled to be treated fairly during this process, and we will fight for your rights along the way. Call right away to get started.
A wife is entitled to their equitable share of marital property, which is described in state law at Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.330 (2). According to the statute, marital property includes all property obtained by a spouse during the marriage except for:
- Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
- Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation;
- Property excluded by valid written agreement of the parties; and
- 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.
Not all of the property owned by a married person is marital property. Some property is considered to be individual, which means that it is owned exclusively by one spouse or the other. Often, this is property that is brough into the marriage by one of the spouses.
Individual property could also be obtained during the course of the marriage. However, the circumstances where property obtained during the marriage are limited. Some examples include the proceeds of a personal injury settlement or a family inheritance.
The distinction between individual and marital property is important. While a judge has the ability to distribute marital assets during a divorce, that is not the case with individual property.
How is Marital Property Divided in Missouri
A wife—just like her spouse—is entitled to have their marital property divided in a just way by the court. This means there is no requirement that the judge divide all marital property evenly between the spouses. Instead, they have the power to distribute marital assets in a just manner, even if that means one side gets more than the other. There are limits on how these assets can be distributed, however. Some of the factors a judge must consider when dividing property include:
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children;
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- The value of the nonmarital property set apart to each spouse;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
- Custodial arrangements for minor children.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Rights During Divorce in Missouri
While you might not be entitled to a specific outcome in a Missouri divorce, you could secure a fair division of assets that sets you up for success in the future. Of course, both sides could have very different ideas regarding what is fair.
The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC has extensive experience fighting for spouses during divorce proceedings. If you are ready to protect your rights and pursue a fair outcome in your case, contact us right away for your initial consultation.