When a couple in Indiana decides to seek a divorce, their marital property will need to be divided. Spouses can negotiate an agreement on their own, or, if they are unable to do so, they can go to court and let the judge decide. In either case, both parties should understand how the division of property works before going into the process.
Understanding equitable distribution
In Indiana, property is divided by a family law judge under the equitable distribution principle. This means that marital assets, or those acquired during the marriage, are divided in a fair manner, which does not always result in an equal division between the spouses. To divide the assets, courts look at a variety of factors, including:
- The financial situation and needs of each spouse
- How long the spouses were married
- Each spouse’s earning potential as well as the preparation each would need to seek a higher-paying job
- The custody situation of any minor children
- The child and spousal support payment responsibility of either spouse
- Each spouse’s contribution when acquiring marital assets
The results of equitable distribution
The court seeks to award distribution that is fair and reasonable. In most cases, this results in divisions that are about the same for each spouse. However, if a spouse does not agree with the outcome, they will need to provide evidence to show that a fair judgment in their case is not an equal one. To achieve this, the spouse will need to provide evidence that the court should award an unequal, but fair division of assets.
The process to divide a couple’s marital assets can be complex and delicate. Therefore you should be prepared by knowing and understanding all your assets and their values, your financial situation at the time of the divorce, and your budget and plans for the future.