Property division can be one of the most complicated and contentious aspects of a divorce. The process of dividing assets can be very complicated, especially when assets are substantial and/or complex. Further, because every case is different and there are no fixed rules in terms of how to divide property, it can be a stressful situation.
However, it can be helpful to understand some of broad strokes of this process so you know what you expect if you are going through a divorce. Generally speaking, there are three main parts to asset division: adding it all up, subtracting separate property and dividing everything else equitably.
Adding it up
You and your ex will be completing a Financial Declaration Form, which is a legal document that lists all your assets and expenses. You will include property, business valuations, income, pensions and retirement accounts, as well as any debts and living expenses you have.
Subtracting separate property
Separate property is property that you entered the marriage with and remains separate. It also includes things like inheritances and gifts given just to you. If you keep all these separate and don’t mix them with your marital accounts, then property can be classified as separate property, which is not eligible for distribution.
Dividing assets equitably
Indiana observes equitable distribution laws, which means that marital assets will be distributed fairly. This is opposed to community property states where marital property is divided equally. The courts will take into account factors like earning potential, contributions to the marriage and child custody and support in order to divide up assets. You can also work out a property division plan on your own through mediation.
An attorney is an important part of the equation
Trying to work out the property division process on your own can be overwhelming and ultimately detrimental to getting a fair settlement. With the help of an attorney, however, you can be confident that you start with an accurate Financial Declaration Form and end with a fair settlement.