Combined finances for spouses can make it much easier to manage your household bills and budget. However, the more intertwined and commingled your assets are with that those of your spouse, the more difficult separating your interests and assets may become in the event of a divorce. If you and your ex can’t reach an amicable agreement regarding the best way to split your assets, you can litigate your divorce and have the courts make the final determination.
In such a situation, you may find yourself wondering if everything you own will wind up subject to division in the divorce proceedings, or if there are certain assets that you can, theoretically, exempt from the process.
Indiana seeks to equitably divide your assets
Indiana family law instructs family law judges to apply the equitable division standard to the assets and debts of couples going through a divorce. Equitable distribution of your assets means that the courts try to find a fair way to split your possessions and debts.
The judge must carefully review your financial and personal circumstances before determining what might be equitable. Everything from the income of each spouse and the length of the marriage to the custody of the children, if any, will impact how the courts view a fair division of your assets.
What assets do the courts have the authority to split up in a divorce?
Once you understand how the courts divide assets, the next pressing question will be which assets they have the authority to divide. Generally speaking, the courts have the right to divide more marital property in a divorce but not your separate property.
Unless you have a contractual agreement with your spouse designating certain assets or income as separate property, most everything you earn or acquired during your marriage will be marital property and subject to division. Even if you earn substantially more than your ex or if your name is the only name on a bank account, they can lay claim to an equitable share of all the income and assets you obtained during the marriage.
Items you owned prior to your marriage, inheritances kept separate from commingling with your marital assets and even gifts could remain separate property during your divorce. Most everything else will be subject to division.