Dividing property can be one of the most difficult things that people need to resolve in divorce proceedings. In general, it is preferable for divorcing spouses to reach a mutual agreement about property division.
In order to negotiate strategically and know what to expect if a dispute advances to trial, it is important for people who are getting a divorce in Indiana to familiarize themselves with a few basics about the state’s approach to dividing marital assets.
Marital property division
Not all jurisdictions take the same approach to dividing property in divorce hearings. There is a common misconception that dissolving a marriage necessarily means splitting assets 50-50. In reality, this is true in only a minority of jurisdictions.
Indiana is in the majority of jurisdictions that follow the equitable distribution doctrine. However, statutory law creates a presumption that an equal split of marital property will yield the most “just and reasonable outcome.”
Parties may introduce evidence rebutting the presumption. Several factors can shape a court’s analysis including the length of a marriage and the parties’ respective earning capacities.
Potential relevance of fault
In no-fault divorce proceedings, allegations of fault concerning the breakdown of a marriage do not usually bear on determinations about property division. However, fault could be consequential in the event that a party squandered marital assets or engaged in some form of financial dishonesty towards his or her spouse.
Lastly, it is important to note that courts treat the division of debt like the division of assets. They attempt to allocate it fairly and equitably between both spouses.