An integral part of divorce is the asset division process, and couples who were together for many years often have many assets to divide.
In Indiana, there is a legal presumption that the marital estate (meaning all assets and debts) will be divided equally, although in some cases, that presumption can be rebutted.
The process of distributing marital property in Indiana generally has 3 parts, or “questions”: 1) what is the marital property; 2) what is it worth; and 3) how will it be divided?
What is the marital property?
In Indiana, all assets and debts in either party’s name that exist on the date of filing of a divorce are considered marital property. It does not matter whether an asset or a debt existed prior to the marriage. Likewise, the titling of an asset or debt does not affect whether that asset or debt is marital property. Separate property does not exist in a divorce in Indiana, unless the parties have a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement which explicitly created “separate property.”
What is the property worth?
Sometimes, the value of marital property is easily determined. For example, a cash savings account has an easily ascertainable value, as does a 401k, or a checking account. Other items of property, such as a house, art, or jewelry, may need to be examined and appraised in order to obtain a value. Sometimes a professional may also need to value items like a pension.
How will the property be divided?
As stated above, in Indiana there is a presumption that the marital estate will be divided equally between the divorcing spouses. However, one or both parties may seek a deviation in their favor; in other words, they may request more than 50% of the marital estate. This is a matter of discretion for the Court and is very fact sensitive.
Talk to an experienced family law attorney today.
There are many issues that arise in the process of identifying, valuing, and distributing marital property. Speak to an experienced attorney at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C., about this process so that you are fully informed and know what to expect.