Property division and divorce in Indiana

Every state handles the details of divorce differently. Property division in Indiana is discussed in this piece.

Couples going through divorce in Indiana have two options when it comes to property division: they can put together a property division proposal themselves or they can get a court order. It is wise to have a basic understanding of Indiana state law to help determine the best option for your situation.

What is considered property in Indiana?

The term property, for divorce matters in Indiana, is defined by state law as all of the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage by either party. This term expands to include pensions and other retirement assets, property, income and earnings as well as debts.

The law allows for the division of property owned by either spouse before marriage and assets acquired during the marriage by one or both parties. This property is then divided in a manner deemed "fair and just" by the court. In some cases, this can include instructions to sell property and divide the proceeds.

How does the court divide property?

When making its determination, the court generally moved forward with the presumption that the property should be split equally. In certain situations, a party can argue that he or she should receive more than an equal split. In these cases the court may exclude qualifying pieces of property from consideration when making the property division determination. Examples of things the court would consider when adjusting the division include:

  • Contributions. One party could receive a larger portion of property if that party contributed more to the acquisition of the property in question.
  • Means of acquisition. Property acquired by inheritance or before the marriage and kept separate from other marital property may remain separate. This means the property cannot be mixed with marital property. If, for example, an inheritance were put into a joint checking account it would no longer be considered separate. It would be marital property.
  • Custody of children. The court may also view it necessary to provide the parent raising the children with the family home.

Remedies are available if a party refuses to abide by the property division determination set by the court. State law provides that refusal to follow this order can result in "contempt, an income withholding order; or any other remedies available for the enforcement of a court order."

How could parties develop their own property division proposal?

The parties going through the divorce can develop their own proposal. This proposal is often put together with the aid of legal counsel for each party. The agreement is then proposed to the court.

Do I need an attorney?

Whether hoping to structure your own agreement or planning on litigating, it is wise for those going through a divorce to seek legal counsel. A divorce attorney will advocate for your best interests, working to better ensure a more favorable split of property.