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How will your marital property be divided in divorce?

Going through a divorce can make the future uncertain. The family dynamic is changing, and in many cases, each party's financial future is in limbo. There may be questions of child support and spousal support, or the division of marital property may be in dispute.

In Missouri, how your marital property is divided can have long-term effects on your life after divorce, but it's also important to remember not to quibble over material possessions that in the big picture can be replaced or left behind. The key is an accurate valuation of marital property, along with a fair settlement either in court or out of court. With these issues in mind, let's consider some property items that some people end up wishing they had addressed in their divorce settlement.

Unfortunately, some spouses will tell their soon-to-be exes that a retirement account or a pension plan is not available for property division in the divorce. But that is not the case. Income that goes toward a 401(k) or other type of retirement account is regarded as marital property, and divorcing spouses may want to negotiate for those funds.

Stock options, insurance policies and bank accounts are also considered marital property. If these types of assets are worth more than the family home, then it may make sense to let the house go and opt for the bigger sum. It's also important to remember that real estate such as a house requires upkeep, so divorcing spouses will have to decide if they want to take on that responsibility or sell the house.

In the event that a home sale is the right choice, the parties will then have to decide how the proceeds are split. Exactly who will handle the sale can also be negotiated in the divorce settlement.

Ideally, every divorce would end with both parties going happily on their way, but unfortunately that isn't always the case. To help ensure the best outcome, divorcing spouses in Missouri should speak with an attorney with experience in divorce negotiations.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Don't Forget These Marital Assets," Jeff Landers, Oct. 16, 2013

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