Recent case: Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED98742

Husband appeals the trial court’s dissolution judgment in various respects relating to the characterization and division of property awarded to his former spouse.

DECISION:

  1. The trial court cannot include assets or money in the marital estate that no longer exist at the time of trial, except in the circumstance where there is evidence of concealment or squandering (wasting or misusing) in anticipation of trial, which did not occur in this case.  The Court erroneously charged the Husband with $95,000 against his share of the marital property that was previously spent on marital debts.
  2. When the Court finds that a prenuptial agreement is valid, it must enter a judgment consistent with that agreement.  In this case, the Court entered in a judgment attempting to substitute its own opinion as to what a fair and equitable division looked like, but this was improper as the prenuptial agreement was deemed valid and should have been followed.
  3. A vehicle purchased with non-marital funds is non-marital property, even when purchased during the marriage.  The prenuptial agreement in this case designated the funds that purchased the car as non-marital.  There was no apparent evidence that transmuted the non-marital asset into a marital asset.