Many Missouri couples live by the phrase, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours.” That is to say, they are willing to share what they have with their partners and expect that what their partners have is also available for their use. However, this collective interpretation of martial property may not be an accurate representation of how property is actually classified under the laws of the state.
Property can take on two different classifications, marital or separate. Marital property is generally considered to be all of the property that two people amassed after they have gotten married. It can include vehicles, homes, bank accounts and even debts. Separate property is property that is under the ownership of only one of partner to a marriage.
Separate property can be acquired in different ways. One of the most common ways that a person may retain separate property during their marriage is by keeping separate and apart from any marital property that they have. For example, if a spouse is gifted money and that gift is not also given to their partner, the recipient may retain the gifted money as separate property so long as they do not deposit the money into a joint account and lose any records of the gift’s value.
The classification of property as marital or separate is important when it comes to dividing up property pursuant to a divorce. While separate property is generally taken by its owner, marital property must be divided. Readers should discuss their property division questions with their family law attorneys to better understand how their property rights may be affected during a divorce.