Who Gets the House in a Missouri Divorce?

When going through a divorce in Missouri, one of the most challenging aspects can be the division of assets, especially assets like your home. In this article, we will discuss how assets are divided in Missouri as well as how the housing market can impact how you wish to divide property.  

How Assets Are Divided in Missouri Divorce  

In Missouri, assets are categorized as either marital or non-marital. Marital assets are all properties acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Non-marital assets, also known as separate property, are those that were owned by either spouse before the marriage or were received as gifts or inheritance during the marriage. 

The distinction between marital and non-marital assets plays a crucial role in the division process. Marital assets are subject to division between the spouses, while non-marital assets generally remain with the original owner. 

There are two routes that a couple can take when dividing assets:  

  • Negotiating an agreement themselves. Ideally, divorcing couples should try to agree on how their marital property should be divided. This approach allows for a more flexible and personalized solution.  

  • Allowing the court to make a judgment. If spouses cannot agree on the division of assets, the court will have to intervene. 

Who Gets the Marital Home?  

When a court divides marital property, including your home, in Missouri, it considers several factors: 

  • Each spouse's economic circumstances 

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker 

  • The value of each party’s separate assets  

  • The conduct of both parties during the marriage 

  • The custodial arrangements for minor children 

How Today’s Expensive Housing Market Can Affect Your Divorce 

Home prices are beginning to experience a slow decline, but they're still considerably high compared to previous years. Despite predictions of a possible crash, experts agree that the housing market isn't heading towards a downfall. Instead, it's gradually stabilizing with prices starting to recover. 

This high-price, low-supply environment affects divorcing couples who are trying to divide their marital assets, including their home. The value of the house plays a significant role in determining how assets are split, and these inflated home prices can complicate matters. 

The Ripple Effect on Divorce Cases 

In an ideal world, property division in a divorce case would be straightforward. However, the current state of the housing market can significantly affect this process. Here's how: 

  • Increased home equity. With elevated home prices, many homeowners have seen a rise in their home equity. This increase might lead to disagreements about how to equitably divide this asset. One party may wish to keep the home due to its increased value, leading to potentially contentious negotiations. 

  • Difficulty in selling. While the market is cooling down, selling a home can still be challenging. High prices might deter potential buyers, causing delays in the settlement process. In some cases, one spouse might need to stay in the house longer than expected, which can create tension and disrupt plans. 

  • Affordability issues. For the spouse who wishes to keep the home, affordability can become an issue. High market prices mean higher buyout costs, which might be unaffordable for some, especially if the majority of their marital wealth is tied up in the home's equity. 

Given these challenges, it's crucial for divorcing couples to approach property division with a clear understanding of the housing market trends and their implications. Here are some tips: 

  • Get a professional appraisal. To understand your home's value in the current market, consider getting a professional appraisal. This will provide a clear picture of your home's worth, aiding in equitable division. 

  • Consider alternatives. If selling the house isn't feasible, explore other options. These might include renting the property or agreeing that one spouse will stay in the home for a specified time before selling. In some instances, spouses may agree to continue living together for a period after the divorce.  

Discuss Your Case with Our Attorneys 

The attorneys at Kallen Law Firm, LLC can guide you through the divorce and property division process, working with your best interest in mind. With decades of collective experience, we offer clients personalized, reliable counsel.  

Contact our property division attorneys online or via phone (314) 441-7793 to schedule a consultation.