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Property division, alimony and other considerations in an IN divorce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of people divorcing nationally has increased for five straight years.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Divorce is a confusing process, and even people who have been through a divorce in the past may have trouble understanding the relevant laws and walking away with a fair settlement. Although Indiana does not track or share divorce statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of people divorcing nationally has increased for five straight years. In light of this unfortunate trend, many couples in Indianapolis and other parts of Indiana may benefit from understanding the issues that must be handled during a typical divorce.

Factors in an Indiana divorce

Indiana is a state of equitable distribution of property, which means that property is not necessarily divided evenly, but it is divided equitably. Factors like the economic standing of each spouse and the way that the spouse contributed to obtaining the property are weighed to determine a fair division, according to the Indiana Code. Spouses may challenge equal division; for instance, if property was obtained prior to the marriage, as a gift or as part of an inheritance, it may be exempt.

Spousal maintenance, which the economically advantaged spouse may be ordered to pay the other spouse, is a related financial issue. Maintenance orders may be temporary or permanent, and when the issue is settled in court, factors like each spouse's educational level, work experience and earning capacity are taken into account. If a spouse is awarded child custody, the costs associated with caring for the child will also be taken into consideration.

Married couples with children face even more challenging issues during divorce, including reaching a custody arrangement, developing a parenting plan and setting child support. These issues often cause conflict, which is why separating couples have the option of resolving their issues either with legal counsel or in court.

Uncontested and contested divorce

In Indiana, couples in a low-conflict separation may reach an agreement on their own terms and potentially avoid a court hearing. There are a few conditions, however, that exclude spouses from agreeing on a settlement on their own, according to the website of the Indiana Judicial Branch. These include:
- If either spouse is currently pregnant with the other spouse's child.
- If either spouse is a member of the military.
- If neither spouse has established residency of at least 6 months in Indiana and three months in one county.
- If either spouse disagrees with any part of the divorce settlement.

Sometimes, spouses can work with an attorney to come to terms outside of court, but often as not, disagreements will arise. When this is the case -- or when spouses meet any of the criteria above -- they can turn their case over to the discretion of a judge.

Regardless of the specific circumstances behind a divorce, it is important for anyone who is divorcing in Indiana to speak with an attorney early in the process. An attorney can help an individual ensure that his or her interests are defended during the divorce and in the settlement.

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