One of the most challenging parts of divorce is figuring out how to divide all your assets with your spouse. Property division laws vary for each state, but each one requires you and your spouse to split your assets during a divorce.

Before you get too worried about how property division works in Missouri, you need to know the difference between separate and community property.

The two types of assets

During a divorce, your assets will fall into one of two categories: separate and community property. Separate property includes assets that you own individually and likely had from before the marriage, such as an inheritance. Separate property is not available for division during a divorce in Missouri.

Community property, sometimes also known as marital property, is all the assets that you own and bought during your marriage. This can include your house, your cars, your retirement funds, your furniture and much more.

Missouri only allows community property to be eligible for division during a divorce.

Understanding equitable division

In Missouri, your property is available for division through a process known as equitable division. Equitable division means that your property will be divided in a manner that is fair for each spouse. This does not guarantee an equal division, however. Instead, a judge will consider various factors, such as each spouse’s contribution to the assets, each spouse’s conduct during the marriage and divorce proceedings, and each spouse’s current financial status.

Ultimately, a judge may award one spouse a higher percentage of the assets than the other. If you want to avoid a judge making such a decision, you should consider consulting with your spouse directly ahead of time. If both spouses can come to an agreeable decision together, a judge will likely follow that strategy.

Regardless, the division of property can be a complicated process during a divorce. You must be upfront about all your assets and willing to work with your spouse to reach a solution that’s comfortable for both of you.