What is a fair and equitable property settlement?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in property division on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

If you and your spouse face divorce, you need to know that Missouri is an equitable distribution state. This means that when the two of you go about dividing up your marital property, you must divide it in a fair and equitable manner.

FindLaw explains that fair and equitable, however, does not mean that you must divide your marital property precisely 50/50. Because of your particular circumstances, one of you may require more marital property than the other.

Fair and equitable considerations

Keep in mind that the judge will need to approve whatever property settlement you and your spouse come up with. To ensure that (s)he will find it fair and equitable, consider the following situations that may make an unequal marital property division a nevertheless fair and equitable one:

  • Whether or not one of you must pay increased health care and prescription drug costs because of a chronic medical condition
  • Whether or not this medical condition keeps you out of the job market
  • Whether or not one of you earns significantly more money than the other
  • Whether or not one of you pays child support to a former spouse or partner
  • Whether or not one of you dissipates assets because of an alcohol, drug or gambling addiction

Your own specific situation may present additional reasons for an unequal marital property division. Be sure to carefully think through what each of you needs and why before making your property settlement agreement. While you can get it modified after your divorce if absolutely necessary, doing so likely will require a lengthy and expensive process.

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