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What is equitable property division?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2023 | Family Law

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation with a rate of 8%. Indiana couples going through the divorce process will often have to deal with dividing their assets.

The state uses equitable property division as the legal framework to determine who gets what and to ensure fairness between the spouses.

Equitable property division defined

Equitable property division is a principle of fairness in the distribution of marital assets and liabilities. It does not necessarily mean that there will be a 50/50 or equal property division between the divorcing parties, as it may vary based on individual circumstances. Instead, the court aims to distribute property and debts in a manner that is fair and just.

Factors in equitable property division

The court evaluates each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, both financial and non-financial. This includes factors like earning capacity, homemaking and childcare responsibilities.

Longer marriages often lead to more significant joint assets, which may affect property division decisions. Additionally, the age and health of each spouse can play a role in the division. For example, one spouse may require more financial support due to health-related issues.

The income and future earning potential of each spouse can also impact decisions. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, they may receive a smaller share of assets.

Child custody arrangements and financial support responsibilities also play a role as the court will want to ensure stability for the children. This might require providing certain property to the custodial parent.

Assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts during the marriage are typically separate property. The court will not consider them when making decisions.

In many cases, couples can avoid having the court make decisions through equitable property division by negotiating an agreement through mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods. This allows them to have more control over the outcome and reach a solution that aligns with their unique circumstances.