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How does property division work?

20774363_S (1).jpgMany couples who think of divorce imagine fighting over who gets what. While it's true people often disagree on how to divide their belongings after a marriage, there are laws that courts use to assist with this process.

How your assets will be divided depends on where you were married, but luckily property laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar.

Marital property

All possessions acquired after the marriage date are considered "marital property," and thus become subject to division during a divorce. It doesn't matter with whose income they were purchased.

This includes any debt accrued together or other shared financial obligations, but typically not any debt incurred under just one party's name. If your spouse has their own debt under their own name, that may not be passed to you.

Not an exact split

Any property accumulated by either party prior to the marriage is set apart and isn't divided between you two. Similarly, non-marital property such as inheritances are not subject to division, even when comingled with marital property.

Some states recognize "community property," which means that even items obtained individually - but during a marriage - are subject to division. This is a more "down the middle" approach many people think of when they first imagine a divorce, but it's not the case in Missouri or Illinois.

However, any comingled property that cannot be traced will be assumed to be marital property. For instance, cashing an inheritance check and depositing it into a joint checking account, but keeping no receipt or record, could include those funds in marital property division.

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