Unequal Division of Marital Property Appropriate in Some Circumstances
In a Missouri Divorce, the Court must divide all of the property and debt acquired during the marriage. The property does not necessarily need to be divided equally, but it must be divided equitably (fairly). In determining this, the Court must consider all relevant factors, including the economic circumstances of each spouse, the contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, the value of non-marital property, the parties conduct during the marriage, and any child custody arrangements. The trial Court has broad discretion in making property division.
In a recent case from the Missouri Court of Appeals, the trial Court considered contributions made by the Wife in determining the 78/22 award. Specifically, the Wife had made non-marital contributions to the home, and Husband lived there payment free, Wife purchased vehicles for the Husband, and both parties had equal earning power. Also relevant was Husband’s conduct, and child custody arrangements. Wife’s withdrawal of $1000 from a bank account was balanced by Husband’s failure to pay child support, and Husband committed misconduct by forging Wife’s name on an insurance disbursement. For these reasons, the Court divided the property unequally in favor of the Wife.
Eastern District of Missouri
Filed March 18, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Charles County.