One of the biggest challenges of getting a divorce is dividing the property between you and your spouse. You may think you’ve got the upper hand with all kinds of assets solely under your control, but that may not matter too much to the courts.

Indiana uses equitable division as the basis for dividing assets in a divorce. This can mean different size shares for each partner, depending on contributions, circumstances and the size of the pot. The state will start by defining what it will consider for splitting, and all that property you assumed was separate could surprise you.

Up for grabs

Separate assets may not stay that way for long once the courts take a look:

  • Inheritance: If a family member leaves you something when they pass, it doesn’t necessarily make it yours alone. It may not matter who calls them a blood relative in the event of any inheritance or gift you and your spouse receive. Even if the property comes with just your name on it, anything that adds to commingled funds or is used by you and your spouse could count as shared property.
  • Bank accounts: It may not make a difference if yours is the only name on the checks. Separate funds that don’t come close to household use could stay independent, but those accounts may fall into the shared category as soon as you’re spending them on family expenses like the mortgage, groceries or utilities.
  • Property: You may assume that the things you gathered outside the marriage will stay that way. But just like separate funds, all those big-ticket items that you use as a family might be marital assets. A house with one name on the deed, or cars with titles that call you the owner could count as a joint asset if your spouse has been using them since you got married.

Protecting your assets is a crucial part of the divorce process and one that may not be as straight-forward as you’d think. Make sure you know what can end up on the chopping block, and you may be able to draft a plan for your divorce.

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