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?

UPDATED: May 17, 2009

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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


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

Answered 13 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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