Trial court must identify all property as marital or non-marital in Missouri divorce proceeding; specific values not required

Recent Ruling: MP v. DLP Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD75647

Husband appeals from the trial court's judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage with respect to its division of property. Husband claims that the trial court erred in (1) awarding Wife an account as nonmarital property, though not expressly designated by the trial court as either marital or nonmarital, (2) awarding a 1919 Studebaker to Husband presumably as marital property, though not expressly designated by the trial court as either marital or nonmarital, (3) failing to designate all property marital or nonmarital before dividing the marital property; (4) failing to designate a value for all of the property as required to determine if the marital property was divided in a just manner; and (5) dividing the marital property because the division was not just and was against the weight of the evidence.

Holding: Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

(1) The trial court's judgment made express marital/nonmarital designations regarding some of the property. The judgment made additional reference to agreed marital/nonmarital designations. However, this fails to completely satisfy the trial court's statutory obligation designate all property as marital/nonmarital.

(2) The reference identifies Wife's account as marital property and the 1919 Studebaker as Husband's nonmarital property. The judgment does not otherwise designate these items.

(3) The trial court is not required to assign specific values to the marital property it divides.

(4) The trial court is not bound to accept either party's proposed valuation of property as exact. The trial court is free to find a valuation within the range of evidence offered by the parties.

(5) Until the trial court completes its task of designating all the property as either marital or nonmarital, it cannot be determined whether the division was fair and equitable.