What is the Marital Estate? Indiana Divorce

Posted By : admin
Category : Divorce/Family Law
22 - Jan - 2018

When the time comes for a person to file for divorce, there are a lot of unknowns.  Most of what people know about Indiana divorce are snippets of information they have gleaned from the news or from another person’s experience with divorce.  Sometimes the information is correct and sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes the friend who went through divorce went through divorce in Indiana, and often they did not.  So, when a person comes to Halcomb Singler, LLP, to discuss divorce, they are often very concerned with what will happen to the assets that they have spent their lifetime accumulating.

In Indiana there is a presumption that marital assets should be split 50/50 between the spouses.  But what is a marital asset?  Marital assets are any assets owned by either the husband or the wife on the date that the divorce was filed.  For purposes of this blog we will assume that there was no pre-nuptual agreement signed by the parties prior to marriage, because that would likely change the 50/50 split.

It is very common for a person who is meeting with Halcomb Singler for the first time regarding divorce to focus on the fact that they have always kept their financial life separate from their spouse.  While those facts are not irrelevant to divorce, it does not mean that the separate account will not come into the marital estate to be presumptively divided 50/50.  The same is true with your paid off vehicle even though it is only titled in your name or the house that you and your spouse live in even though the deed is in your spouse’s name alone.

Now that you know that most of the time assets are considered part of the marital estate, how do you determine the value of the marital estate? (ie how much there is to divide between the husband and the wife before they go their separate ways?)  There are various ways depending on the asset.  For bank accounts, it is fairly easy to ascertain from bank statements the balance of the account on the date of filing.  The same is true of retirement accounts.  But what about assets that aren’t so easy to value such as a car, a house or even a business?  Cars can be evaluated fairly easily through NADA or Kelly Blue book so long as you know their make/model, mileage, trim package and overall condition.  When houses are involved, typically an appraisal must be ordered so that the parties know the true value of the real estate.  When businesses are concerned, it is much more complicated.  If the business is more than a hobby and actually makes money it can be necessary to use a business appraiser, which is a cost that is paid for by one or both of the parties to the divorce.

So if you are considering obtaining a divorce in Indiana, keep in mind that there is a presumption that you and your spouse will both walk away with half of what the two of you have accumulated over the years.  The presumption can be overcome in some scenarios, but typically the Courts will not deviate further than 60/40.  If you are a resident of Hamilton County, Indiana including Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel and would like to schedule a meeting with a divorce attorney contact our office today at (317) 575-8222 x 0 or click here.