Everyone knows about property division after a divorce. Generally, the story is about one of the spouses somehow railroading the other and taking all of their money. The favorite anecdote includes a vicious, vengeful ex-spouse with the bulldog of a lawyer who somehow manages to convince the court to give that spouse all of the marital money. This is simply an untrue representation of the law.
The Laws of Property Division
The law simply sees divorce as a reason to divide the property that is considered marital. The law sees marriage as a partnership, and during the relationship, both parties are contributing and working together to obtain assets and property. If the marriage ends, the court is tasked with dividing the property that was accrued during the partnership, much like in a business partnership.
The law aims to divide the property fairly, and to give each of the parties the property to which they are entitled. Courts will tend to find that the division of the property is most fair if done equally. Thus, each party will receive half of the property of the marriage. The marriage property will include any property owned jointly by the couple or individually. However, the court may deviate from an equal division in certain circumstances. An experienced family attorney is likely to be helpful in this situation. He or she could help you convince the court that a division other than an equal one is fair in your case.
Another factor to consider in property division is a prenuptial agreement, if there is one. A prenuptial agreement will likely determine the division of property, absent special circumstances that an attorney can help you navigate.
To learn more about the Indiana State Law on Division of Marital Property, click here.
Is Property Marital or Nonmarital?
All property that was acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, and is therefore divisible by the court during divorce or settlement. In addition, all property that was brought into the marriage and then converted into marital property is divisible. However, if the property was brought into the marriage individually but not made marital property, it is not divisible.
Assets and Debt
Dividing marital property includes both assets and debts. The property must first be valued by the court and then split in half, or in any way the court decides is equitable according to the specific circumstances. The court then must to decide how the property will be divided, and who gets which assets and which debts.
What Should You Do?
If you or someone you know is getting divorced, contact a family law attorney to help ensure your rights are protected, including those concerning the division of the marital property. An experienced family law attorney is better equipped to argue your interests to the court and to persuade the court to divide the property in a manner favorable to you.