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How do the Indiana courts divide property when people divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Family Law And Divorce |

There are often several concerns that hold people back from divorcing even when their marriages feel dissatisfying. Those with young children may worry about losing parenting time. People often feel a strong sense of obligation to work on their marriage before pursuing a divorce, especially if they belong to a traditional culture or share a faith with their spouse.

In some cases, uncertainty about one’s financial future might prevent an individual from filing for divorce despite feeling unhappy with their current circumstances. Most people have heard concerning stories about someone left in a difficult financial situation following a divorce. People sometimes let those stories determine their actions at the end of a marriage. As such, those who understand the state’s property division rules might feel less anxious about the potential outcome of a divorce filing.

The Indiana family courts want a fair outcome

Every state has its own rules about property division. In Indiana, the standard requires the equitable or fair division of a couple’s assets. What is fair can be drastically different from one case to the next.

If the matter goes to court in a contested divorce, a judge reviews details about the marriage and the circumstances of each spouse to decide what might be appropriate. Typically, judges can look at factors such as the separate property of each spouse, their potential for income and even their custody arrangements. In most cases, marital misconduct plays little, if any, role in the property division process. However, judges can consider some types of misconduct, especially in fault-based filings.

A judge’s decisions about property division can affect someone’s standard of living for years. While there is very little certainty about how a judge might divide people’s resources, almost anything earned or acquired during the marriage could be vulnerable to division.

Many people dislike the degree of uncertainty that comes with litigated property division. They may attempt to mediation or direct negotiations through attorneys to reach an agreement about property division. When spouses can agree on terms, they can essentially control the outcome of their divorce proceedings. Otherwise, they rely on a judge’s interpretation of the situation.