Verification of Property and Debt

Documentation Needed to Conclude Divorce in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

Resolving the property division porition of a divorce can be more difficult than many think. To settle a divorce, the marital settlement and separation agreement must indicate who is getting every piece marital property and debt. In doing this, many parties going through a divorce are surprised for the need for identifying information to draft the final settlement documents.

For example, as it relates to marital property and debt, being less than clear about who is getting specific marital property and debt is often not enough to satisfy a judge. In other words, with real property, the legal description to that real estate must be in the marital settlement and separation agreement. Without it, most judges will not sign the divorce decree.

Consider other items of marital property and debt as well like automobiles. The vehicle identification (VIN) numbers for automobiles should be in the settlement paperwork to satisfy a judge and to transfer title with the state licensing bureau, if necessary. Otherwise, most judges will not sign the divorce decree. The same standard applies for boats, trailers and other vehicles.

Additionally, with bank accounts, investment accounts, 401s, IRAs and other important assets, account numbers must be contained in the settlement documents. Or, in some jurisdictions, the last several digits of the account number, and the name of the institution where the account, is located minimally may be needed to satisfy a judge. In most instances, leaving that information out will result in many judges refusing to approve the settlement.

The same applies to marital debt. Only listing "Visa" or "MasterCard" is almost always problematic in settlement paperwork. Instead, most parties want to at least include the last four digits of the account number, the precise type of Visa or MasterCard and the balance owed.

What if the Judge Signs the Documents Without Verifying Information?

Should family court judge sign and approve settlement documents without information like this, future litigation could often result. In other words, it could cause parties to disagree about what was agreed upon. It might result in third parties (like banks, lending institutions, licensing bureaus, investment companies, retirement account companies, etc.) not enforcing the terms of the settlement.

While it might feel like a scavenger hunt, it is critical that a party going through a divorce gather all of this documentation at the beginning of this case. If they do not possess, it is normally wise to let their attorney know where they might get it.

If a party is not sure what is necessary and what is not, it is important to discuss this with legal counsel. However, when there is uncertainty, it is almost always better to play it safe and retrieve the information, if possible.

If a case cannot settle and a trial results, it is vital that the judge have this information as well. Without it, it can be very difficult for the judge to divide martial property and debt fairly and effectively in the divorce judgment without it.

Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma Property Division Divorce Lawyers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Tulsa and beyond

If you are going through a divorce with assets, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can contact us online or call us at the numbers below.