Serving Indiana Since 1994

What factors are key with equal distribution of property?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2021 | Divorce

In an Indiana divorce, it is not uncommon for there to be a dispute over property. While this might not be viewed under the same microscope as child custody, parenting time, child support and spousal maintenance, it can still be a source of acrimony and extended disagreement. Indiana is a state that adheres to the concept of equal division (sometimes referred to as equitable distribution) meaning that the court will strive to come to a solution that is fair. Fair is not always equal, so the couple should not automatically expect the property to be split down the middle.

Equal division of property and the right to rebuttal

From the outset, it is wise to know what the law says about equal property division and how a person can rebut any presumptions about how property will be divided. At the start of a case, the court will function under the belief that dividing the property equally is the just strategy. There is, however, a right to rebut that based on evidence. The evidence will include how much each spouse contributed to the property being acquired. It is irrelevant whether the property produced income. Property might have been accrued prior to the marriage or as an inheritance or gift. This too will factor in with the determination.

When the property is to be split, the economic situation will be assessed. That can include a family home, which party would like to retain it and if there are children from the marriage who will live there. Behavior is also considered. If there was poor conduct by one spouse, the court can weigh that when deciding how to equally distribute property. Finally, it will look at earnings and the ability to earn for each side when the property is finally distributed and when determining the property rights.

Equal division of property might not be so simple

As a divorce moves forward, people might begin with the belief that the property issues will be handled in a certain way and they can count on the terms of equal division to protect them. In truth, it is far more complex than that and if each side stakes a claim or makes an argument for a different method of property division, the court can consider it based on the above factors. As with any family law situation, it is essential to be prepared. This is true regardless of the perspective and the goals in a property dispute.