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Trust Assets in a Divorce

When dividing marital property in a divorce, the court is to consider the factors set forth in Section 452.330, RSMo and then divide the property in such a way that it seems just. Workman v. Workman, 293 S.W.3d 89, 96 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). A court generally has “great flexibility” in dividing the marital property. Shepard v. Shepard, 47 S.W.3d 412, 417 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001). The division of property does not necessarily need to be equal. Russum v. Russum, 214 S.W.3d 376, 384 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007). 

Sometimes there are difficulties that arisewhen making a division of marital property when a revocable or irrevocable trust holds assets of one or both spouses. “The fundamental nature of a trust is the division of title; the trustee being the holder of legal title and the beneficiary that of equitable title.” Farris v. Boyke, 936 S.W.2d 197, 200 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996). 

Under certain circumstances, which will largely depend on the nature of the trust and its assets, property held in a trust will be subject to a property division in a divorce. In re Marriage of Maninger, 106 S.W.3d 4, 8 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003). It is very important, then, to understand how to address trust assets in a divorce proceeding to know what you would be entited to legally. 

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