Divorce, alone, can be mentally and emotionally draining. Add in navigating the complexities of dividing property between spouses and the process can become overwhelming. In Indiana, in the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, property of either spouse, whether owned prior to marriage or acquired after marriage, is included in the marital pot. Courts must then divide the property between the divorcing spouses in an “equitable” manner. Equitable, however, does not always mean equal. A court may deviate from the presumption of an equal division if property was brought separately into the marriage, was never commingled with other assets, and was never treated as marital assets. Specifically, the presumption of an equal division may be rebutted by a showing of:
· The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the same was income producing.
· The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse before the marriage or through inheritance or gift.
· The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence or the right to dwell in the family residence for such periods as the court considers just to the spouse having custody of any children.
· The conduct of the divorcing spouses during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property.
· The earnings or earning ability of the spouse as related to a final division of property and a final determination of the property rights of the parties.
At the end of the day, courts have broad discretion in weighing these factors (and other factors). If you are thinking about filing for divorce or going through a divorce, having an attorney who will advocate for you and your fair share of the property is essential.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.