What Happens To Debt In A Missouri Divorce?

Divorce is never an easy process, it can be complicated and stressful. When it comes to dividing property, assets, and debts, the process can become even more challenging. In Missouri, debt is considered when deciding on a property settlement during a divorce. In this article, we will discuss what could happen to debt during a Missouri divorce.

Overview of Divorce in Missouri

Missouri is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that neither party has to prove fault to file for a divorce. All that needs to be proven is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In Missouri, a divorce filing requires residency in the state for at least 90 days.

Equitable Distribution

Missouri follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that property and debt will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between spouses. The court will evaluate several factors to determine how to divide property and debt. These factors include:

  • The value of each spouse’s property.
  • Each spouse’s economic circumstances.
  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage.
  • The custody of children during the divorce.

Types of Debt

There are two types of debt that may be involved in a Missouri divorce:

Marital Debt

Marital debt is debt that the couple incurred during the marriage. For instance, credit card debt, car loans, or mortgages. Missouri divides marital debt among the spouses. The court will evaluate each spouse’s ability to pay back specific debts and their contribution to the debt accumulated during the marriage.

Separate Debt

On the other hand, separate debt refers to debts incurred before the marriage or debts accumulated solely by one spouse during the marriage. Typically, Missouri will assign separate debt to the spouse who incurred it.

Debt Division In Missouri

The court system in Missouri will try to split both marital property and debt as equitably as possible. Depending on several factors, debt can be equally divided among the parties involved, or it can be entirely assigned to one spouse.

How to Divide Debt

There are two primary ways to divide debt in a Missouri divorce:

Agreeing to Divide Debt

When getting a divorce in Missouri, couples can agree on how to split assets and debts. If both parties can compromise and communicate amicably, this is one of the easiest ways to divide debts. Couples can write their agreement down and present it to a judge for approval.

Court Order

When couples cannot agree on how to divide their debts, the court will take the necessary steps to do so. The judge will consider all relevant factors of debt accumulation within the marriage and allocate it accordingly.


Dividing debt during a divorce can be stressful. In Missouri, several factors go into dividing debt, such as whether it’s separate or marital debt and the ability of both parties to pay. The court system will do everything possible to ensure debts are divided fairly. Couples can choose to come to a mutual agreement on how to divide debts and other assets. Otherwise, the court will take the necessary steps to distribute debt appropriately.

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