Property Division in Indiana
One of the most difficult situations you may endure is going through a divorce. Divorces are emotional and stressful not only for the spouses, but also for the children and other family members. Many issues arise during the course of a divorce, such as child custody, child support, property division, and other critical issues.
Olivia Napariu has considerable experience helping parties in all aspects of a divorce. She has a thorough understanding of Indiana’s divorce laws and the various issues couples often encounter when undergoing a marital dissolution.
Indiana – Equitable Distribution State
Each state has laws regarding the way in which property, including assets and debts, will be divided when the spouses choose to divorce. Indiana is an “equitable distribution” state meaning that the property will be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, but rather it means property will be divided in a manner that is fair or reasonable.
In Indiana, the court will presume an equal division of the marital property unless one of the parties rebuts this presumption by showing that an equitable division would not be just and reasonable. According to Indiana Code 31-15-7-5, some factors showing that an equitable division would not be fair include the following:
- Contribution of each spouse to the property acquired
- Whether the property was acquired by either spouse before the marriage or received as an inheritance or gift
- Economic circumstances of each spouse when the property is to be distributed
- Conduct of the parties as related to the disposition of the property
- Earnings or earning ability of the parties as connected to the final division of the property and determination of property rights
When the court divides the marital property, the court must also divide marital assets. Marital assets may include such items as retirement plans, 401K plans, houses, automobiles, and business interests. Indiana Code 31-15-7-4 defines “marital property” to include the following:
- Property owned by either spouse before marriage;
- Property acquired by either spouse after marriage and before separation of the parties; or
- Property acquired by the spouses’ joint efforts.
Methods for Property Division
There are multiple methods for the court to divide marital property. These different methods include:
- Dividing the property in kind, which generally means a portion of the property will be divided among the two parties, or if there are two similar items of property each spouse will receive one of the items in question
- Assigning the property or a portion of it to one spouse and requiring either spouse to pay an amount, in gross or installments, that is just and proper
- Ordering the sale of the property and dividing the proceeds of the sale between the spouses
Marital property laws are complex and involved. A family law attorney can determine the marital assets and debts of each spouse, determine the value of each item of marital property, and ensure that your interests are protected. For experienced legal assistance with your divorce matter, contact Olivia Napariu, Attorney at Law.