When a married couple in South Bend gets divorced, they have to divide most, if not all, of their valuables between them. Unless they have a prenuptial agreement in place, they will have to go through the asset division process.
The spouses often have different ideas about who should get what. Fortunately, Indiana law gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to negotiating a property division settlement.
Most states practice equitable distribution, including Indiana. Equitable distribution is a form of divorce asset division in which the primary requirement is that the division is “equitable,” a legal term that means “fair.” The law does not require a 50-50 split of the assets. As long as the judge agrees that the terms of your settlement are reasonable to both sides, based on the individual circumstances of the spouses, they will approve it.
Martial vs. nonmarital property
Because of this, you may have an easier time dividing valuable assets like:
- The family home and other real estate, like a vacation house or rental property
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA
- Personal property like furniture, vehicles and collections (known as “chattel”)
Keep in mind that asset division only applies to marital property. Almost everything you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will count as marital property. But if either of you owned something valuable before you got married and kept that asset separate, it would be nonmarital property that stays with the spouse who owns it.
A sound strategy is key
Figuring out property division can be complicated. But careful preparation, clear priorities and creative problem-solving can help make the process much easier.