Under Missouri Law, the concept of equitable distribution is controlling. This means that will divide marital property in an equitable (fair) way, but not necessarily equal way. Notice, a court is not required to give each spouse a 50% share of the marital assets.
Oftentimes, distribution is not as easy as splitting a bank account in half. There are other issues such as business valuation, appraisals, forensic accounting and pension and retirement valuation. Having an attorney who understands how to value and split these complicated assets and liabilities is crucial to obtaining a fair result in your divorce.
Once there is a determination of what is or is not marital property, whether an asset or liability, the Court will then determine how to divide these assets and liabilities if the parties cannot otherwise make an agreement between the parties themselves.
The factors for determining what is a fair distribution include:
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective;
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- The value of the non-marital property set apart to each spouse;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage (for example, extra-marital affairs can be taken into consideration when dividing property); and
- Custodial arrangements for minor children.
High Asset / Net Worth
Divorce cases involving high net worth often require the assistance of industry experts in addition to a skilled family law attorney. In cases where significant assets are subject to distribution, Law Office of the Ozarks may employ the efforts of a CPA, property and business valuation experts or other specialists to accurately determine the sum of a couple’s assets and liabilities, including:
- Mutual funds, stocks and securities
- Retirement plans such as pensions, IRAs and 401(k) savings plans
- Delayed compensation executive-level income
- Life insurance policies
- Real estate holdings
- Business holdings
- Stock options
In a high net worth divorce, each piece of the financial puzzle has the ability to impact other financial awards by the Court, including alimony and attorney’s fees. Contact Law Office of the Ozarks to review the facts of your case and determine options for your future income resources and property division.