Indiana Property Distribution Overview
Indiana generally accepts a fair and reasonable agreement between the parties with respect to their property division. If the parties cannot agree, then the property is divided by the courts.
Indiana is an equitable distribution state, and it follows a “marital pot” philosophy. This means that the court throws all the assets into one “pot”, and then it is distributed “equitably.” It is important to understand that “equitable” does not mean equal, or even half, just what the court considers fair.
In Indiana there is a rebuttable presumption for equal division of property. This means that a spouse can defeat equal division of the property if the spouse can show evidence that an equal division of the property would not be fair or reasonable.
A couple quick points: 1. If you have only been married a short time, the court would likely allow you to keep what you brought into the marriage; 2. If your spouse gambled, lost, or made very bad business decisions the court can consider this in property division.
I.C. 31-15-7 lists these factors that the court may consider in determining whether or not a 50/50 split is appropriate:
Right now you might be thinking that you can prove 3 or 4 of those factors, maybe even all 5. If this is the case – PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. I beg you, do not try and convince a court that you deserve more without some type of legal guidance, and no, this does not count as legal guidance.
Who Gets the House
Usually this is where things heat up. The marital home is usually the largest asset in the marriage. The equity of the home is what needs to be divided. Equity is the market value of the home at the time of separation minus debts or liens (mortgage). So parties agree that the market value is $100,000 and there is $65,000 in mortgage, taxes, and a credit line on the home. That means that $35,000 needs to be divided between you. To do that you would usually choose one of these three options:
Get Some Help
Should you find yourself suddenly facing divorce, or if you are just planning ahead, please take the time to consult an attorney. An experienced attorney can help you collect the documents you need and guide you through a tough time. If there are large assets on the table, an attorney can actually save you money in the long run.