St. Louis Investments Attorney
Who gets what share of stocks, mutual funds, pensions and retirement accounts when parties divorce?
To answer that question, we must begin with the types of property considered in a divorce. In Missouri, the law recognizes two types of property – separate and marital. Separate property is the property of one spouse obtained prior to the marriage. Marital property is property the parties obtained during the marriage. Sometimes a party can convert separate property to marital property by, for example, titling a house purchased prior to the marriage jointly in the names of both parties. One challenge in dividing property is untangling commingled property.
If the investment was purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage and never converted to joint ownership, the investment can be considered the separate property of the purchasing spouse. However, any contributions made to the investment by the non-purchasing spouse would be considered an asset subject to division.
If the investment was converted to marital property during the marriage or purchased during the marriage, untangling ownership becomes even more difficult as the parties try to justify their individual contributions and quantify them in a dollar amount.
Once the categorization is complete, the court will have to assign specific financial shares in the value of the investment to each party as it attempts to structure an equitable division of the marital property. In making such a decision, the court considers the economic circumstances of each party at the time of dissolution, the contribution of each spouse to the marital home, the value of the separate property of each party, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, and the custodial arrangements for the children.
Pensions, mutual funds and retirement accounts can all be apportioned under the law. So, for example, if a spouse worked for 30 years for a company, including ten while married, and retires, the spouse will have a claim to 10/30 of the value of the pension. The time of valuation, the ultimate value of the asset share and the time it may be collected may vary by the pension fund or court order, and is definitely a complex area of the law.
To be sure you have all the protections of the law, you should consult with a skilled and experienced family law attorney before making any decisions regarding investments.
Getting Help in Investments
As you can see from the issues to resolve, the process is not just a short set of simple, self-executing rules, but involves many complex and often difficult questions of proof. Only a skilled and experienced attorney can properly advise you as to your rights with regard to the division of investments, and protect those rights in a legal proceeding.
At The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C, we have over fifty years of combined experience handling family law matters. We help individuals understand their rights with regard to all issues, including property division. We have handled hundreds of trials before family court judges; if you choose The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C., you will have the benefit of a family law attorney unafraid to go to court, advocate on your behalf and fully present your case.
Time to Act
Time is of the essence. As soon as you select The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. to represent you, we will immediately put our considerable experience and resources to work on your case. The sooner we can review the necessary information, the sooner we can formulate a strategy for your unique circumstances, helping to ensure the best possible outcome.