Divorce Actions and Property Division

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys

Making the decision to file for a divorce or receiving a divorce petition in the mail is a life-altering experience in Indiana. Broyles Kight & Ricafort, a team of top Indianapolis divorce attorneys, can guide you through the divorce process and help minimize your emotional and financial costs during separation and divorce in Indiana.

“No fault” Divorce in Indiana State

Since Indiana is a “no fault” divorce state, the grounds for divorce here are simple. It is not necessary to prove that one spouse acted inappropriately by committing adultery, mental or physical cruelty, etc.: all that must be shown to a court is that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage and that there is no reasonable expectation of a reconciliation between spouses.

Dissolution of Marriage in Indiana

In order to file a dissolution of marriage petition in Indiana, one must have been a resident of the state for at least six (6) months and a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least three (3) months. There is a mandatory waiting period of sixty (60) days in Indiana before a dissolution of marriage petition can be granted.

Distribution of Marital Property in Indiana

In any dissolution of marriage action, one of the main issues is distribution of marital property . In Indiana, all vested assets held by either party at the time a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed are considered “marital assets” and are included in the “pot” to be divided. Indiana is an “equitable distribution” state and has a rebuttable presumption that marital assets should be divided equally. Factors a court can consider in deviating from an equal distribution of assets include the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, whether the assets was acquired prior to the marriage or through inheritance, the economic circumstances of each party, the earning ability of each party, and whether either party dissipated assets.

Alimony in Dissolution of Marriage in Indiana

Indiana law does not provide for “alimony” in a dissolution of marriage. It does allow for “maintenance” payments from one spouse to another in limited situations. Maintenance payments are permitted when one spouse is incapacitated and unable to work, or when one spouse is the custodian of a child whose condition does not allow the spouse to work and the spouse does not have sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s needs. Indiana law also allows for “rehabilitative maintenance” payments to a spouse for a period of up to three (3) years. These payments are designed to help a spouse acquire job skills or education so that the spouse will be able to support himself in the future.

Factors Involved in the Distribution of Marital Property in Indiana

Determining how marital property should be divided in Indiana involves many considerations, such as the tax consequences of different distribution options or whether an asset is liquid and available for immediate use. There also may be issues relating to valuation of a business an area with which our professionals have substantial experience. Our professionals are prepared to assist you with these considerations and to advise you on how to obtain the best possible asset distribution for your needs.

Legal Separation

In some circumstances, a legal separation may be an appropriate alternative to filing for dissolution of marriage. An order for legal separation is temporary by nature, and allows the parties to spend time making decisions about whether to move forward to divorce, or whether to attempt reconciliation – while protecting the legal interests of both parties and avoiding the emotional label of “filing for divorce.” In a legal separation, an agreement or order focuses on “ground rules” that will be in place while the couple decides their future. Temporary terms for custody, parenting time, support, possession of property, and payment of expenses are typically established as part of a legal separation order or agreement.

The Indianapolis family law attorneys of BKR also are experienced in handling high-profile cases and clients with the utmost discretion and awareness of the unique issues arising from such cases. If these concerns apply to you, contact us to discuss how we might address your particular needs.

Contact Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys today to learn more about Divorce and Property Division in Central  Indiana!

The divorce and family law attorneys at Broyles Kight & Ricafort, P.C. can help minimize your emotional and financial costs during separation and divorce. To schedule a consultation with one of BKR’s experienced divorce and family law attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana, call 317-571-3601.

Our team of recognized and respected Indiana divorce attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Indianapolis and the surrounding area including Marion County: Indianapolis, Johnson County: Greenwood, Franklin, Hamilton County: Carmel, Noblesville Boone County: Lebanon, Zionsville, Hendricks County: Danville, Avon Madison County: Anderson, Wayne County: Richmond.

The Indianapolis family law attorneys of BKR also are experienced in handling high-profile cases and clients with the utmost discretion and awareness of the unique issues arising from such cases. If these concerns apply to you, contact us to discuss how we might address your particular needs.

Contact Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys today to learn more about Divorce and Property Division in Central  Indiana!

The divorce and family law attorneys at Broyles Kight & Ricafort, P.C. can help minimize your emotional and financial costs during separation and divorce. To schedule a consultation with one of BKR’s experienced divorce and family law attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana, call 317-571-3601.

Our team of recognized and respected Indiana divorce attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Indianapolis and the surrounding area including Marion County: Indianapolis, Johnson County: Greenwood, Franklin, Hamilton County: Carmel, Noblesville Boone County: Lebanon, Zionsville, Hendricks County: Danville, Avon Madison County: Anderson, Wayne County: Richmond.

Indiana Divorce FAQs

What are the benefits of divorce litigation?

In a divorce case, the main benefit of litigation is obtaining assistance from a judge when you are unable to resolve an issue by agreement with your spouse. Sometimes even when a party has been ordered by a court to do one thing or another, he or she is simply unwilling to cooperate. In those cases, you can ask a judge to take action to help you get the relief you need.

How does a divorcing couple decide whether the children should live with one parent most or all of the time, or split their time equally between both parents’ homes?

So many factors play into what living arrangements are appropriate for a given family. We usually look at the distance between the parents’ homes, the ages of the children, work schedules of the parents, schools the children attend, the children’s activities, what kind of schedule the children are used to, whether any of the children have special needs, and on and on. I often say there are nearly as many types of living arrangements as there are families that we work with. You really need to focus on the children, and how you can best meet their needs with the parenting schedule. That is going to vary widely with every family I meet.

What qualifications should someone look for when choosing a divorce lawyer?

When choosing a divorce lawyer, you should always consider the facts of your particular case. For example, if your case involves child-custody issues, then you should look for someone with experience advocating for children. Have they served as a guardian ad litem? Have they handled adoption cases? Have they taught seminars addressing issues related to custody and parenting time? If your case involves a particular type of asset, ask whether the lawyer has experience valuing and working with those assets. A family business or farm, for instance, requires particular skills to value and divide. Other examples of complicated assets requiring specialized knowledge and expertise include stock options and pensions; you want a lawyer who is familiar with the issues with valuing those assets, the tax consequences of dividing them, and so on. You also may want to find out whether the lawyer has any additional certifications or designations that could be useful in your case. For instance, in Indiana some family law attorneys are Certified Family Law Specialists. That certification indicates that the lawyer has passed a detailed test focusing on family law, and has certified a particular level of involvement in family law cases over a period of years. Certified Family Law Specialists are required to go through a periodic re-certification process as well. An attorney might also have received additional training as a Collaborative lawyer or a mediator, allowing them to offer you alternatives to litigation to resolve your divorce-related issues.

What can someone do to keep the cost of their divorce litigation process down?

Most family law attorneys charge an hourly rate and bill based on the amount of time they spend working on your case. Providing your attorney with the information they request in a timely manner and in an organized fashion will allow your attorney to work more efficiently. This will result in lower costs. In addition, grouping your questions into one email or phone call as opposed to contacting your attorney multiple times during the day or week will also help minimize fees.The best way to lower your overall cost is to listen to your attorney’s advice regarding the reasonableness of a settlement offer, and to make decisions during your case that take into account what you hope to achieve, the likelihood of success, and the cost of pursuing your goal. While the total cost of a family law case cannot be controlled by one party alone, following these suggestions will significantly reduce your fees.

What is the difference between an equitable distribution state and a community property state?

Each state is governed by their own set of family law rules and statutes. While there are some similarities, there are also many differences. Equitable distribution states divide property between spouses after considering a number of different factors with the goal being to divide the property fairly or equitably. Judges in equitable distribution states, such as Indiana, have a fair amount of discretion in terms of how to apply the statute and determine a fair distribution of the marital estate. In a community property state judges assume that all property is jointly owned unless proven differently and simply divide that property in half. The majority of states, including Indiana, are equitable distribution states. Choosing the right jurisdiction in which to file your case when multiple options are available, can be an important part of your strategy. Choosing a lawyer that is skilled in jurisdictional issues will likely have a big impact on the outcome of your case.

What is the difference between marital property and separate property?

Trial courts in Indiana are tasked with dividing marital property in a “just and reasonable manner.” Marital property refers to property acquired during the marriage, while separate property refers to property that you brought into the marriage or acquired during the marriage via inheritance or gift to you. Even so, Indiana law tells us that all property is considered part of the marital estate and the party seeking to exclude property from the marital estate has to show why it is not part of the martial estate. Additionally, in Indiana future earnings are not considered marital property or part of the marital estate subject to property division by the Court. If you have property prior to a marriage that you may not want considered during your divorce, you should strongly consider a premarital agreement.

Who decides what is marital and what is separate property? What if one spouse doesn’t agree?

Indiana is described as a one-pot theory state, meaning that all assets and debts, whether separate or marital are placed into the “marital pot.” There is then a presumption that all assets and debts will be equitably divided. While parties are able to craft their own agreements, should they not agree on what is marital property, a judge would ultimately decide by allocating assets or debts to a party for any number of reasons. For example, maybe the marriage was short in duration, or maybe one spouse’s contributions towards the acquisition of property was much greater than the other, or perhaps one party’s earning ability is much larger than the other’s. A judge could consider all of these types of reasons in deviating from the presumption in Indiana that all assets and debts are to be equitably divided.

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