There's no doubt that divorce can be an emotionally trying process. Individuals who were once in love can find themselves vying over property and time with their children, and they may even fight over matters like child support and alimony. As emotionally devastating as marriage dissolution can be, Missouri and Illinois residents shouldn't lose sight of the fact that divorce is, amongst other things, a financial transaction of sorts. Therefore, failing to protect one's financial interests can lead to unsteady financial footing post-divorce.
Missouri and Illinois both recognize what is referred to as equitable property division. This means that marital assets should be divided in a way that is fair. Yet, this does not mean that assets have to be divided evenly. Instead, a court will consider a number of factors when determining how to split marital assets. Amongst these factors are the financial circumstances of each party, the financial contributions each party made to the marriage, any custody arrangements coming out of the divorce and the parties' conduct during the martial union.
It is important to note that property that is considered separate from marital property is not subject to property division. These assets may include inheritances to one party and assets obtained prior to marriage. Individuals need to be careful with these assets, though, as commingling them with marital property, such as by depositing an inheritance into a jointly-held bank account, may render what was once deemed separate property marital property.
The outcome of the property division process can shape the way an individual lives his or her life post-divorce. Therefore, there is a lot on the line. While many property division issues can be resolved through skillful negotiations, individuals need to ensure that they are being aggressive yet realistic in settlement talks to ensure that they aren't being taken advantage of by the other party. Qualified divorce attorneys know how to best approach these matters, whether at the negotiation table or in court, thereby assisting those going through divorce in their search for fair and favorable resolutions.