Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

Protect investments during property division

Investing is a complex process. We rely on stockbrokers, accountants and financial advisors to build our investment portfolios – all in the hopes that we secure stability in our finances. However, divorce easily disrupts any investment plans.

Luckily, you can use the right information to prepare for the “property battle” and protect your finances from further damage. But it’s critical to know how Missouri divides investments before determining the right protection techniques for your investments.

Fair does not always mean equal

Missouri relies on equitable distribution, the process of dividing marital property according to what’s fair, or equitable, instead of what’s equal. For an appropriate division, the courts consider several factors such as:

  • Duration of marriage
  • Primary custody of the children
  • Financial needs of each spouse
  • Amount contributed by each spouse
  • Non-financial contributions to the relationship (like raising children or managing the home)
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Specific circumstances of the relationship

However, there are situations where determining “fairness” is complicated, especially when it involves significant financial assets. In the case of investment portfolios, it’s up to the court to decide how to divide your stocks.

Protecting investments from the division

There are only a few ways to protect your stocks or investments from the equitable division. The first technique is establishing a personal investment account. If your finances are entirely separated from joint bank accounts, you should argue against the account’s division in court.

Along with that technique, you should consider separating everyday finances from your spouse. Even sharing a credit card allows your partner that you shared all financial assets during the marriage, including any liabilities or gains from your investments.

If you are already in divorce proceedings, you need to know every detail of your investments. For example, some stocks hold a lower tax than others, while some investments are handled separately, such as real estate. Even the smallest detail affects how the division influences your finances.

If you do not want to know all your financial information, consider hiring a forensic account to uncover information about your stocks or the economic status of your former significant other. It prepares you for any surprises in court.

The key to protecting investments is preparation. With adequately planning, you will walk out of the courtroom with more money in your pocket and fewer worries on your mind.

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