Characterization of Property in Divorce - Increases in Value of Non-Marital Assets only Marital to Extent of Marital Contributions
Under Missouri Law, certain property is considered to be non-marital, and not part of the division of the marital estate in a divorce proceeding. Non-marital property includes property:
- Acquired before the marriage;
- Acquired by gift or inheritance;
- Acquired in exchange for property acquired by 1 and 2 above;
- Acquired after a decree of legal separation;
- excluded by written agreement (pre or post nup)
In the case of an increase in value of a non-marital asset described above, the general rule is that the increase in value is also non-marital. The exception to the rule occurs when marital assets, including labor or marital income, contribute to the increase in value. The Court of Appeals has said that marital effort, labor , or services, will entitle a spouse to a proportionate share of the increase in value of the separate property, but only after "comprehensive substantiation", including proof of:
- a contribution of substantial services;
- a direct correlation between those services and the increase in value;
- the amount of the increase in value;
- performance of services during the marriage; and
- the value of the services, the lack of compensation, or inadequate compensation received.
There must more than just services provided, but a connection between valuable services provided and the increase in value of the asset. Note that income received during the marriage by either spouse is considered a marital asset, so if any income of either spouse is contributed to the asset, it is considered a marital contribution. Likewise, in terms of a non-marital business, employment or labor for no or reduced salary is also considered a marital contribution.