Division of marital property is often one of the most hotly contested issues in divorces. This is especially true in high asset divorces. In each case, you must first determine what is marital property and then how it should be distributed between the parties.  Indiana law establishes rules for courts to apply in answering these difficult questions. It will be up to your divorce attorney to discover assets, evaluate them, and present your case to the court effectively so you can keep what you are entitled to.

What property is considered marital property?

Indiana divorces are controlled by the “single pot theory” of marital property. Under this view, all vested property owned by each person prior to the marriage and all property gained by each or both person(s) after the marriage has been finalized is considered marital property. For example, if an unmarried woman receives a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette for her sixteenth birthday from her grandpa and she keeps it throughout her later marriage, this car would be considered marital property upon divorce. Likewise, if a married man has $10,000 in a bank account under his name only it still would be considered marital property under the single pot theory.[1]

 

How will the court divide the marital property?

Once everything is thrown into the pot, the court will look to fairly divide the assets. In Indiana, courts begin under the presumption that a 50/50 division of assets is fair. However, Indiana law permits a court to divide marital property unevenly if a party shows that it would be inequitable or unfair to split it evenly. By law, the court can consider five factors in every case to determine what is a fair division of the marital pot.  These factors are:

 

  • the extent to which a party contributed to the acquisition of property including non-income producing means of acquisition;
  • the extent to which property was acquired by a party before the marriage or as a gift or bequest;
  • the economic circumstances of the parties giving due consideration to the favorability of permitting the custodial parent to live in the martial home;
  • the capability of the parties to earn income; and
  • the nature and extent of dissipation (spending habits) of martial property by the parties during the marriage.

 

It is important to have an understanding of single pot theory and asset distribution as you begin the divorce process.  Learning these concepts is the beginning of arriving at a fair settlement of your marital property.  The next step is to contact an attorney to help you understand the law, devise a strategy, and obtain fair settlement.  For a free consultation, call Andrew Riedle at the Riedle Law Firm by phone at (317)377-4435

[1] Keep in mind the foregoing illustrations are merely examples and do not constitute absolute outcomes of real world circumstances. They are used only to theoretically explain or illustrate the legal concept of “single pot” theory of martial property. It is advisable to seek the opinion of an attorney before any decisions are made.