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How will the courts divide property in a litigated divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Divorce

Some couples have an easy time with divorce. They may have signed prenuptial agreements and know exactly how they have to split their property as a result. They could simply have very little property or chose to work with one another in mediation or collaborative proceeding to reach a solution that they can both accept. These spouses will file uncontested divorces and have a predictable divorce outcome.

If you and your ex don’t have a marital agreement and cannot currently agree about what is appropriate or fair because you share significant property, then you may need to go to court to litigate. A judge will then look at your marital property and try to divide it according to the law.

What can spouses divorcing in Kansas or Missouri expect in a litigated high-asset divorce?

Kansas and Missouri are both equitable distribution states

Every state in the country has its own rules about divorce and marriage, but many of them apply similar standards. Like the majority of other states, both Kansas and Missouri require the equitable distribution of marital property in a litigated divorce.

A judge has to seek a fair solution to the property division process. What is fair will depend on the family’s unique circumstances. A judge will likely divide your property differently if your spouse filed for divorce because of your diagnosis with a brain tumor than they would in a case involving irreconcilable differences.

The length of the marriage, the income and assets of each spouse, the custody decisions for shared children and even individual health concerns can influence what a judge believes is fair and reasonable when a couple divorces.

You cannot predict litigated property division outcomes

While you can expect that a judge will do their best to reach a fair solution to your property disputes, you have no way of knowing how they will divide your assets and debts in a litigated divorce. High-asset couples may have substantial personal debts to offset the assets they share. A judge might assign more debt or more property to one spouse based on their interpretation of the circumstances.

To push for the best outcome, you need not only to ensure an accurate inventory of your marital assets and debt but also to present your situation to the courts in a way that makes your property division requests seem appropriate and reasonable. Understanding the laws that affect the outcome of a high-asset divorce can help you plan for a stable future after the end of your marriage.