At first, you were in love. Now, you are in Indiana divorce court.
What property can you keep? What assets must you share? Indiana law offers a range of requirements and guidelines for dividing marital property.
What the court considers
Property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage is marital property. It is important to note that marital property is not divided on a 50/50 basis. Judges award marital property in a manner that they believe is fair to all parties.
Judges consider personal circumstances. They include the length of your marriage, previous marriages, age and health.
A judge also considers economic factors. The goal is to maintain the standard of living for each spouse. Some of these factors are:
- Child support
- Income (including medical insurance and health benefits)
- Job skills, employability and future earning capability
- Tax consequences
A judge also considers non-economic contributions in your marriage. One spouse may have supported the marriage through homemaking and child care.
What is off-limits
Some of your property is exempt in divorce cases, including:
- Property acquired before your marriage
- Property exempted in either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Certain veterans’ benefits
The date of your final separation comes into play when deciding marital property. Property that you acquired between separation and the finalization of your divorce is exempt. So is property that either you or your spouse sell or dispense with in good faith before your separate.
What you can do
One question you must ask yourself is whether your spouse is being honest. Does she or he disclose all assets? Does your spouse hide any property from the court?
Divorce law is complex; it is not black-and-white. Decisions about marital property often rest on the case that you present in court. You can handle the divorce yourself, but it is easy to make innocent – and costly – mistakes. Do everything you can to protect your interests.