No matter what the relationship between soon-to-be former spouses is, and no matter how much they both want freedom, the divorce process is still stressful. Dreaming that everything will be over with as soon as possible, you can make a range of mistakes and lose more than you would with a competent approach. During this ordeal, once close people have to divide their joint property and finances. These are not the most pleasant of moments, but let’s leave moral quandaries to the side for the time being and consider the financial aspects.
The Main Rule
How do you save money after a divorce? The central focus, from a legislative perspective, is that what was acquired in marriage should be divided exactly in half. This applies to an ordinary marriage, but there may be exceptions – for instance, if the spouses entered into a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement), which stipulates this aspect.
However, not all spouses understand this simple rule. Husbands often tend to think that if they work or run a business while their spouse stays at home with the children, she has no right to own anything in the event of a divorce. These spouses do not want to share, but the law here is strict — marital property is to be equally divided. Upon closer examination of the law, you can see the subtleties that lawyers find in the divorce proceedings.
What is Subject to Division?
Indiana’s family law states that absolutely all property that the spouses had when they lived together is subject to division. This applies to homes, cars, etc. Former spouses include business assets (income from business, shares, securities) in this category. Additionally, if a corporation was organized during the period of marriage, you have to divide the company and the income that it regularly or irregularly gives.
There is also property that the court does not consider joint and does not divide upon divorce. This applies to property that belonged to the parties before the marriage was consummated — for instance, a gift or inheritance. Spouses do not have rights to the personal belongings of their partner, though jewels and luxury items are divided. Property acquired for children is not typically divided. Therefore, lawyers recommend making deposits in marriage and registering property in minor children. It is not considered in the divorce proceedings.
All of the above is correct in most cases that the courts of Indiana recognize. However, each rule has limitations to it, including the procedure of property division.
What are these exceptions? Sometimes, inherited property or a gift agreement is recognized as joint after a divorce. However, it is difficult to prove this fact. Only an experienced lawyer might be able to do it. He or she will have to determine that the inherited or donated property in marriage has risen significantly due to personal investment from the second spouse.
Statute of Limitations
Claims for property division after a divorce are resolved in a limited time. This is not easy to accomplish, as relations between the former husband and wife are usually strained, and they diligently avoid meetings. There are scenarios where one of the spouses hides some property, savings, or business income. Both parties must understand that after the divorce, joint ownership remains joint until the moment of marriage dissolution in court.
Spouses may request the division of everything that was acquired by the second party after the divorce, if he or she can prove that it was purchased during the marriage. Even if the spouse sold or gifted the joint property, the second party may claim compensation according to the share of the cost. All these requirements are subject to a statute of limitations of three years. After the expiration of this period, the court does not accept claims for a division. The period of limitation begins from the date when the spouse-claimant learned about the violation. If, after the divorce, the spouses still share money or property, the statute of limitations begins from the day when the actions preventing sharing were performed.
To avoid material losses and to save funds after a divorce, you need to collect evidence and testimony carefully. You will need to prove that certain property was purchased during the marriage, presenting the relevant contracts or receipts. In some cases, it is difficult to argue that funds were obtained at a time when the spouses were not living together but hadn’t officially ended the marriage.
If one party manages to prove the fact of separation, the funds are transferred to the spouse who earned them. This is a shady part of the property division process, where a lot depends on the competence of lawyers.
Overall, the law claims that property acquired in a marriage is joint, and you need to divide it strictly 50/50. However, there are nuances. To figure out how to get all money you deserve from a divorce, you need to hire a qualified lawyer with experience. A professional will be able to find spots in the legislation which may preserve a client’s property.
Go to Court
If your opponent does not appear in court, the court will decide in your favor without any special procedures. If your opponent suddenly declares that he or she agrees with the proposed version of property division, the judge will ask you both to prepare a draft of an amicable agreement, which the court will then approve. This can happen at any stage of the trial — even at the preliminary hearing.
In the event of disagreement, your opponent may file a counterclaim presenting their vision of the situation. Of course, the spouse will also have to give evidence, bring in witnesses, and present their case using all available means. Both of your claims will be considered in the same session.
Beware of Fraud
Remember that you divide not only your property but also debts. This concerns liabilities to banks and other creditors. Some citizens attempt to use this for unjust enrichment. Courts are familiar with this practice and, with an adequate level of investigation into the circumstances, must disclose abuses of rights. There is no guarantee, however, that this will happen, so keep this danger in mind and be careful.
Find Out How to Appeal the Court’s Decision
The stages of appeal procedures are standard. After the court has made its decision, an appeal may be field against it within a month. After the passing of the second (appeal) instance, the choice is considered to have entered into force. The bailiffs make a judgment, especially if the defendant is not in a hurry. They will open enforcement proceedings and collect debts from the debtor in various ways: prohibition of going abroad, seizure of property and accounts, deductions from salaries and pensions (of up to 50% of monthly income), etc. At the same time, it is possible to appeal against the court’s decision. The defendant may also file an application to the bailiffs with a request to suspend the proceedings if the decision was called in cassation.
It is easy and painless to divide joint property during a divorce for couples who have come to a peaceful agreement. When dealing with voluntary division of property, it is sufficient for the ex-spouses to enter into an agreement, drawn up in writing. Notarization of the document is not required but can be done at the request of the spouses. Property can be considered to have been properly divided by families who have divided everything in advance – that is, have made a marriage contract. Fortunately, this can be drawn up at any time during marriage or before it. The agreement must be notarized.
If the spouses have long gone beyond the framework of a constructive dialogue, and have turned the division of property into a subject of heated debate, then court is the place to solve this issue. This requires the spouse who is applying for a share of common property to file a lawsuit in court regarding the division of jointly acquired property. However, they must do it within three years of the marriage dissolution.