Other than child custody, asset division is often the most contentious part of a divorce. Every state in the United States has its own laws about how to fairly and appropriately divide assets. In Indiana, the courts pool all marital debts and assets into a “marital pot” and then divide based on a number of factors.
In theory, the division should be equal, but sometimes the courts decide on uneven division if one party attempted to hide assets or violated the law when disposing of assets.
Many people have certain assets they want in the divorce. Others have debts, such as credit card charges from an extramarital affair, that they want excluded. Speaking with an attorney frankly about your priorities is the best way to determine how to handle asset division in the courts or in mediation-style negotiations. If you want certain assets or debts excluded from inclusion in the “marital pot,” you will need to present legal evidence to support that request. Your attorney can review your situation and help you figure out the best way to proceed with asset division during your divorce.
Retirement accounts and other assets can complicate division
The division of certain assets, like retirement accounts, can be particularly complicated. One divorce case from 2013 ended up in appeals court because of issues with how the pension funds were divided. The husband in this case filed bankruptcy after filing for divorce and liquidated his pension. He disputed the inclusion of certain debts in the “marital pot.” The appeals court agreed on some counts and disagreed on others. One critical point was the fact that the valuation of the pension plan took place more than a year after the official dissolution of the marriage.
The appeals court sent their decision back to the original court, instructing that the division of pension benefits should be adjusted to reflect the value of the account at the time of dissolution. The appeals court upheld the ruling that the division of the account was unequal, with a larger portion going to the wife. This decision was a result of the fact that the husband violated court rules by disposing of the account without informing the courts or his ex-wife.
Ensure your asset division is fair and equitable
An attorney can help ensure that only appropriate assets and debts are included in the “marital pot.” More importantly, your attorney can present evidence about any extenuating factors that could affect the division of those assets and debts. Your attorney can guide you through the process of protecting future assets by changing beneficiaries and creating a clear paper trail as to when the assets were acquired.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001