9.7Susan M. Hais

When it comes to divorce, Missouri is an equitable distribution state.   The court determines what a fair property division is.  This does not necessarily mean that the husband and wife receive equal shares of the property. 

Two categories, marital and non-marital, exist in terms of property.  A few caveats are in place, but generally property acquired during the marriage is marital property.  Non-marital property is all property that you or your spouse owned separately before marrying.   Non-marital property can also include property that one spouse acquired during the marriage, such as an inheritance or gifts.

A house purchased during the marriage is marital property.  Spouses generally have three options when it comes to the house.  They can sell it and divide the net revenue.   One party may buy out the other.  Or one spouse, usually the custodial parent, can stay in the house for a designated period of time and then sell the home, divide the proceeds with the other party or buy out the other party. Generally, the court will accept the spouses’ decision about what to do with the house unless it seems particularly unfair to one party.  

If the husband and wife are unable to decide what to do with the home, then the court will decide.   In doing so, it will consider factors such as the earning capacity of each spouse, the mortgage obligation, the living arrangements for minor children, how much each party contributed to the marital home and more.

If you are contemplating divorce and want to know if you can keep your home, contact us.   We are the law firm of Hais, Hais & Goldberger, P.C., and we are here to protect your rights.