Missouri courts follow the equitable distribution model when dividing property between divorcing spouses. Judges attempt to divide property equitably, or fairly, but not necessarily equally; each spouse is not automatically entitled to 50 percent of the property.
As a dual-property state, Missouri courts will equitably distribute all property that is considered marital property. Marital property may include property obtained during the course of the marriage. Non-marital property, or separate property, may include property owned by either the husband or the wife before the marriage. If a party proves to the court that the property is non-marital, then the court will set aside the non-martial property to the party who met the burden of proof.
All Property Is Assumed To Be Marital
Generally Missouri courts will initially assume that all property a couple acquires during their marriage is marital property. For either spouse to be awarded non-marital property, he or she must prove to the court that the property is non-marital.
One method for categorizing property as marital or non-marital is to apply the “source of funds” rule. This rule can be applied to determine whether a property item is entirely marital or perhaps only partly marital and to what extent.
Missouri Source Of Funds Rule
Section 452.330.2(2) of the Missouri Revised Statutes refers to the source of funds rule, which allows that where one spouse uses property that was hers before the marriage to acquire property after the marriage, the property acquired after the marriage remains the separate property of that spouse. An apt example of this is where a man uses money acquired from selling a piece of art that was acquired before his marriage and then uses those funds to purchase other art during his marriage. The art he buys after marrying would be his separate property and not subject to being divided as marital property between he and his wife should they divorce.
To apply the source of funds method, the court must determine whether the money used to pay for the property came from separate or marital funds. The property is then allocated to separate and/or marital property categories in proportion to the percentage that the fund’s source was marital or separate.
Contact a St. Louis Divorce Lawyer
You should consult with a divorce attorney if you are considering a divorce and need to ensure that property and assets you brought into the marriage remain your separate property after the divorce. The Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. can help you classify your property as marital or separate and establish the source of funds. Call (636) 532-2300 for a free consultation today and speak with a St. Louis Divorce Attorney. The Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. serves St. Louis County, St. Charles County, St. Louis City, Lincoln County, Jefferson County, Franklin County and surrounding areas of Missouri.