How can someone take half of what someone had before they got married and the property has been in the family since the late 1800’s?

Asked on May 17, 2009 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The distribution of the marital property is one of the most hotly contested issues in any divorce proceeding.  Indiana's laws establish Indiana as an "equitable distribution" state.  This means that the court will divide all of the spouses' property in a just manner, whether jointly or separately owned and whether acquired before or after the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. There is a presumption that an equal division is just and reasonable.  The respective faults of each party in a divorce are not factors that are considered in the division of property in Indiana.

However, the following factors are considered: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, regardless whether the contribution was income-producing; (2) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence to the spouse having custody of the children; (3) the actual earnings and the present and potential earning capability of each spouse; (4) the extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse prior to marriage or through gift or inheritance; (5) the conduct of the spouses during the marriage as it relates to the disposition of their property; and (6) tax consequences of property disposition. If there is insufficient marital property, the court may award money to either spouse as reimbursement for the financial contribution by one spouse toward the higher education of the other.


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