How do Indiana courts divide marital property?

| Mar 17, 2021 | Family Law |

There’s no single formula that Indiana courts use to determine how to divide marital property. Courts may begin their analysis with a presumption of equal division, but either spouse may successfully rebut this presumption. 

In general, courts in Indiana take an “equitable distribution” approach to splitting up assets. They will consider several key factors in deciding how to distribute property equitably. 

The length of a marriage

If a marriage was relatively short, a court is likely to rule that neither spouse should gain a windfall sum. Instead, a court is more likely to decide that the parties should leave with what they had when they entered into a marriage. 

Earning capacity

How much a person could earn independently may weigh heavily on how a court distributes property. For example, consider a person who will be unable to earn as much as his or her former spouse in the future. This person may be able to leave the marriage with a larger portion of marital assets than a person whose earning capacity is comparable to that of a spouse. 

Fault

Like most states, married couples can get a divorce in Indiana without a finding of fault. However, Indiana also grants divorces on fault-based grounds. Dissolution of a marriage based on fault could influence how a court divides property. 

It is impossible to predict exactly how a court will distribute marital property because its analysis depends on so many different factors. If people can reach an agreement themselves, it may be preferable to leaving it up to a court. 

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