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What Is Considered an Asset in Divorce?

  • November 30, 2022
  • CLLB Law
  • Divorce

After a marriage ends, countless questions typically arise. One of the first questions many couples ask our attorneys is, “What exactly are considered assets in a divorce?” In Indiana, any property is considered an asset during a divorce settlement, regardless of how it was obtained. Because Indiana is not classified as a community property state, none of your assets will be considered community property. Divorce usually results in a 50/50 division of assets, but some circumstances can result in an unequal distribution, depending on various contributing factors.

What Are Considered Assets in a Divorce Settlement?

Joint ownership is established for any and all assets, and includes anything purchased by one spouse or made as a joint purchase. This is different from many states, where “marital assets” are only considered to be those items or property that are purchased during the course of the marriage. Assets can include — but are not limited to — the following:

  • Jewelry
  • Money earned during the marriage
  • Retirement accounts
  • Vehicles
  • Home and property
  • Collections
  • Memorabilia
  • Businesses
  • Investment portfolios.

What Assets Are Safe From Divorce?

The majority of family courts in the country recognize that spouses own separate property apart from their combined property. Unfortunately, Indiana is one of the states where couples are not automatically awarded their separate property. All assets are fair game in the divorce settlement, which can lead to contention between the parties or their attorneys. Those assets that comprise the marital estate are divided at the time of the divorce. Aside from certain properties, there are a few other assets that are safe from divorce settlements.

Gifts and Inheritances

In Indiana, even gifts and inheritances are not considered separate or undivided property, meaning the spouse who received an inheritance may still be liable to split a portion of any assets obtained in this way. Despite this, the majority of state laws stipulate that spouses who want the property to be treated as separate property have the burden of proving it.

Premarital Property

In the state of Indiana, property that was brought into the marriage by either party is no longer considered separate. It enters the pool of marital assets and is subject to division either by settlement or through the court system. This is the same treatment as if the old property had been merged with other marital property.

State Laws

There are two types of states: equitable distribution states and community property states. According to state law, in a community property state, any property acquired during a marriage is owned jointly by both spouses. Property owned prior to marriage and property that was given or inherited by the spouse is usually excluded from community property states. There are very few community property states left. Indiana, as well as most states, have equitable distribution of assets in a divorce. This law takes a variety of factors into consideration, including the needs and financial contribution of each spouse during the marriage. Divorces that are not disputed can be quickly concluded through an agreement between the spouses.

Property Per Agreement

The spouses can negotiate this issue among themselves if they don’t like the default rules the state uses. In a divorce, this may be accomplished via mediation or negotiation. For instance, the spouses may agree to divide their property. A judge may include this agreement in the divorce decree. As an alternative, spouses may come to an agreement before getting married. A prenuptial agreement, for example, may specify how property will be handled in the event of divorce or death. There are often specific procedures that must be followed for prenuptial agreements to be enforceable, such as disclosing certain financial information and being informed of the need to seek independent legal advice. Unlike a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after a couple has already become married.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Can Be Considered an Asset in Divorce

Divorce does not have to be a difficult process. According to your state’s divorce laws, you must meet certain requirements before you can file for divorce. As soon as you file for divorce, other factors such as child support and spousal support come into play. Below you will find a few questions most people ask when going through a divorce.

Who Determines How Assets Will Be Divided?

Divorcing spouses are usually free to divide their property however they see fit under a “marital settlement agreement.” This contract divides property and debts and resolves other issues of a divorce. A large number of divorces are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues, even though many begin with a great deal of acrimony. If the division of property cannot be settled, the court must decide.

Will I Receive Spousal Support?

In order to receive spousal support (known as spousal maintenance in Indiana and Kentucky), there are a few contributing factors that will determine the specifics of your case. This includes the need for additional income, the sufficiency of funds for the payor, the length of the marriage and the health of each party involved.

Will I Lose My Pension as a Result of My Divorce?

Retirement plans and pensions are marital assets; typically, they will be divided based on the portion earned during the marriage. Your prenuptial income may also be considered a marital asset, depending on your state. The pension, however, may be offset by other assets in order to keep it intact.

Should I Keep the House If I Have Custody of Our Children?

In addition to taxes and insurance, it’s important to determine how much it will cost to maintain the house. As a next step, determine if there is enough money coming in each month to keep the house in good condition. Then, the decision about whether to keep the home should be compared with the decision about whether to give up other assets such as liquid accounts and retirement plans. All decisions should be made in light of current economic and stock market conditions.

How Much Child Support Should Be Paid?

In the state of Indiana, child support is based on guidelines that utilize weekly income as the basis. The court will verify all gross income through a worksheet that each party is required to submit, detailing their income and expenses. Income includes all wages, commissions, bonuses, rent and royalty, overtime and any other form of irregular income.

Contact the New Albany Divorce Lawyers at CLLB Law

At CLLB Law, our goal is to offer you the support and resources you need. We understand that divorce is an emotional undertaking for everyone involved, and it’s important that you have a compassionate, skilled lawyer whom you can trust if things get messy. If you and your spouse have decided that it’s time to separate, contact a divorce attorney at CLLB Law. Give our professionals a call today at 812-725-8224.

Attorney Steve Langdon

Attorney Steve LangdonLicensed to practice in both Indiana and Kentucky, Steve Langdon is an experienced elder law and trial attorney. In addition to his litigation and trial work, Steve’s practice includes wills, trusts, probate, Medicaid planning, guardianship, powers of attorney, and advanced directive planning, including living wills and health care surrogate designations. [ Attorney Bio ]

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