Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

for Missourians struggling with divorce and family law matters

Category Archives: Assets and Debts

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Unequal Division of Marital Property Appropriate in Some Circumstances

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property Division, Property-Debt Division, Trials
In a Missouri Divorce, the Court must divide all of the property and debt acquired during the marriage.  The property does not necessarily need to be divided equally, but it must be divided equitably (fairly).  In determining this, the Court must consider all relevant factors, including the economic circumstances of each spouse, the contributions of … Continue Reading

Enforcement of Missouri Divorce Decrees: Contempt of Court Proceedings.

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Property Division
When a Missouri divorce is concluded, and the Judgment Decree is signed by the judge, regardless of whether the case was settled or tried by the court, the parties are expected to follow the order.  While most people do, there are always those who choose to test their luck by not following terms of the … Continue Reading

Valid Prenuptial Agreement must be followed; Non-existent assets can’t be included in marital estate

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Property Division
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: The trial court cannot include assets or money in the marital estate that no longer exist at the time of trial, … Continue Reading

Trial court must identify all property as marital or non-marital in Missouri divorce proceeding; specific values not required

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings
Recent Ruling: MP v. DLP Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD75647 Husband appeals from the trial court’s judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage with respect to its division of property. Husband claims that the trial court erred in (1) awarding Wife an account as nonmarital property, though not expressly designated by the … Continue Reading

Missouri Divorce FAQ: What is an Uncontested Divorce in Missouri?

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings
An uncontested divorce in Missouri is a divorce where both the Husband and the Wife are in complete agreement with all terms of the divorce before the case is filed.  In almost all cases, if the case can be resolved as an uncontested matter, there will be substantial savings of both time and money, and … Continue Reading

Selling the Marital Home: Missouri divorce decree requiring home to be sold must specifically designate conditions of sale

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property Division
Recent ruling NC v. CC Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED95337     Husband appeals from the trial court’s Amended Judgment and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage dated June 2, 2010, ordering Husband to pay monthly maintenance to Wife and dividing the parties’ property and debts. Husband challenges the validity of the trial court’s order, … Continue Reading

Court must consider division of marital property before ordering spousal maintenance (alimony); Factors that determine amount of spousal support.

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division
In a recent ruling from the Court of Appeals, Husband appealed the trial Court’s decision granting maintenance to the Wife, claiming, among other things, that the Court did not consider the Wife’s award of marital property, and the ability to earn income from it, in its maintenance determination.  The Court of Appeals agreed, remanding the … Continue Reading

Debts ordered to be paid in Divorce Decree are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Property Division
Since 2005, the Bankruptcy law has been relatively clear that nearly any obligation resulting from a dissolution of marriage proceeding is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, whether that is in the nature of a domestic support obligation (11 USC 523(a)(5)) or a property/debt settlement (11 USC 523 (a)(15).  The Missouri Court of Appeals has reiterated this … Continue Reading

Setting aside of default judgment appropriate when good cause shown and meritorious defense; Ability to pay supports award of attorney’s fees

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Guardian Ad Litem, Property Division
Recent Case: JT Appellant vs. AT, Respondent  Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97995 Father appeals from the trial court’s judgment of November 8, 2011, dissolving his marriage with Mother and entering a child custody and support award for their minor child ("Minor"). The trial court’s judgment granted joint physical custody to the parties, … Continue Reading

Parenting Plan must account for all custodial time; Court can determine child’s education when parents are unable to agree; Court has broad discretion in dividing property and division will be upheld unless Court abuses discretion

Posted in Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property Division
Recent Case: KO vs. MS Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD74673 Wife appeals the judgment of the trial court entering a dissolution decree. In several points on appeal, she challenges the court’s determinations regarding child custody and property division issues. The Court Held:   (1) Because the parenting plan did not assign all … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Modifiable maintenance granted at divorce is terminated when all of the reasons it was awarded have changed.

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
An action to terminate modifiable maintenance was granted. The case is fact-specific, but deserves reporting simply because of the dearth of appellate cases in which modifiable maintenance is terminated. At the time of the parties’ divorce (dates not noted in opinion, but approximately 2003-2004), the Husband ran a business which earned him approximately $190,000 annually. … Continue Reading

Adding Spouse to Legal Title Transmutes Non-Marital Real Property to Marital; Wedding Rings are Separate Non-Marital Property

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Modifications, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Property Division
Recent Case:  JJ v. EJ Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD74148 Adding a spouse to the title of non-marital property, in this case a farm, transmutes separate non-marital property into marital property. Consequently, when Respondent re-titled the property adding his spouse to the title, the farm became marital property. When the parties placed … Continue Reading

Family lawyers and Divorce Attorneys function hand in hand with Forensic Accountants

Posted in Assets and Debts, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division
The following post was contributed by guest author Grant Webb, an accounting and accounting law writer for Bisk Education and Villanova University.   Forensic Accountants Fill a Unique Niche Family law and divorce cases are often quite complex. Depending on the number of family members involved, the amount of assets at stake, and the specific … Continue Reading

December Courts Bulletin: Recent updates in Missouri Case Law

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division
Value of a closely-held corporation must be as fair market value and application of a calculation of value via a buy-sell agreement not related to fair market value is error. Wood v. Wood, No. 96218 (Mo. App. W.D., November 29, 2011), Romines, J. This was an appeal from a dissolution of marriage action. The Husband … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Recent developments in Missouri Family Law

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Modifications, Paternity, Property Division
  Administrative child support orders are available for the support of all eligible children, including children of citizens of other countries. Lajeunesse v. State of Missouri Department of Social Services, No. 73477 (Mo. App. W.D., October 4, 2011), Martin, J. A child was born to a Russian citizen in West Virginia. Father was a Missouri … Continue Reading

Recent case: Forum under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and in personam jurisdiction

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Property Division
www.courts.mo.gov/file.jspMissouri Constitution provides subject matter jurisdiction of circuit courts. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act provides comity among states and determines which state is the most appropriate forum for seeking remedy. The Circuit court should make findings under those provisions. Rule and statute describe minimum contacts necessary to make a person subject to circuit court … Continue Reading

Characterization of Property in Divorce – Increases in Value of Non-Marital Assets only Marital to Extent of Marital Contributions

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division
Under Missouri Law, certain property is considered to be non-marital, and not part of the division of the marital estate in a divorce proceeding.  Non-marital property includes property: Acquired before the marriage; Acquired by gift or inheritance; Acquired in exchange for property acquired by 1 and 2 above; Acquired after a decree of legal separation; … Continue Reading

Property Not Owned by Spouses Cannot Be Divided in Divorce

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division, Retirement Plans and Division
The Circuit Court does not have authority to divide assets that are not owned by either spouse in a dissolution of marriage.  In a recent Missouri case, the trial court entered a judgment that divided certain trusts where the children were the sole beneficiaries.  Since the parties to the case did not have any interest … Continue Reading

When Attorney Fees Can Be Awarded in Divorce/Family Litigation

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Trials
While Missouri courts normally follow the “American Rule” regarding legal fees – that each party is responsible for his or her own costs – Missouri dissolution of Marriage statutes give the court the discretion to order one party to contribute to the other party’s fees. Specifically, Section 452.355.1 provides:   Unless otherwise indicated, the court from … Continue Reading

Missouri no fault divorce – what it does and does not mean

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division, Trials
Similar to other states, Missouri is a modified no-fault divorce state. However, there is some misconception out there about what this actually means for divorcing parties in Missouri. Modified no-fault divorce means that a party does not have to prove that their spouse committed some kind of misconduct, such as adultery, abandonment, financial, etc., in order for … Continue Reading

Grossly disproportionate division of property and debts in a divorce proceeding reversed

Posted in Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division, Retirement Plans and Division, Trials
In a recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District, a division of property and debt where the Wife received 93% of the assets and 27% of the debts, and the Husband received 7% of the assets and 73% of the debt was reversed and remanded to the trial court for … Continue Reading

Missouri Supreme Court Decision: Spouse’s Contribution to Separate Property Creates Marital Interest In Property Which May Be Divided by Trial Court

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, military divorce, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Property Division
In a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Missouri, the Court held that a spouses contribution to otherwise separate property creates a marital interest that can be divided by the Court.  In Missouri, property that was owned prior to the marriage is generally considered to be separate, non-marital property.  Separate property is awarded to the … Continue Reading

Bankruptcy Filings Up Substantially in 2009

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Divorce, Financial Issues, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division
As a practicing family and bankruptcy attorney, I consistently run into cases where people are dealing with both a divorce (or other family law related matter), as well as a bankruptcy.  This is because, many times, one is the cause of the other (this works both ways), and the cases often go hand in hand. That is probably no surprise … Continue Reading

The Financial Aspects of Divorce: Why It usually IS “All About The Money”

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Abuse, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, military divorce, Property Division, Retirement Plans and Division
I can’t think of how many times that I have had a client tell me, regardless of what the issue is that is in dispute, that the opposing party is “just worried about money” or that it is “all about the money” for him or her, and that is their sole motivation in the case. Or maybe … Continue Reading