Tips for taking a proactive approach to property division

An attorney that focuses on divorce and property division matters knows that money can be a sticking point, causing divorce proceedings to become heated or prolonged.

While it may be the province of a divorce court to issue a divorce decree that addresses matters of property division, divorcing couples would be wise to take a more proactive approach to valuing the marital estate and preparing for their financial picture after the divorce. In that regard, a recent article provides good advice.

As a preliminary matter, projecting one’s cash flow after a divorce may not be possible until an individual organizes his or her financial documents. Many married couples may have dual incomes but a joint banking account. Yet in a joint account, it may not be clear which money is personal and which is shared. Accordingly, a divorcing spouse might be well advised to open a separate bank account as early as possible in the divorce process, instead of waiting for the divorce decree.

A spouse may also not realize that he or she shares liability for certain debts. Accessing one’s credit score might be one way to figure out which debts are in a spouse’s name.

Since Missouri is an equitable distribution state, the division of the marital estate may not always be exactly equal. Similarly, the assignment of liability for marital debts may also be done in a way that the court deems fair, even if not exactly equal. A court may consider factors such as the contribution of each spouse to the marital property, proposed custodial arrangements, and each spouse’s conduct and economic circumstances. An attorney can explain these factors in greater detail.

Source: Huffington Post, “12 Things Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say,” Tara Kennedy-Kline, April 20, 2014

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