When you and your spouse are dividing your property in a divorce, one of the harder assets to divide is the family house. The house is often the largest and most expensive of your shared property. It drastically affects how the rest of the estate is sorted as Indiana law requires the court to presume equitable division of marital property.
If you and your ex take the case to court, having the right arguments is crucial towards obtaining your home and getting the best deal possible. Here are some potential arguments you can use.
Your financial stability
What makes Indiana marital property division tricky is that the state does not recognize inheritance or gifts acquired during marriage as separate property. Their goal is to divide the estate between you and your ex as evenly as possible.
However, you may still sway them with evidence that finances during marriage were unequal. If you provide proof that your ex poorly handles money or spends recklessly, bears more responsibility for shared debt or has a low-paying job, then the court may trust you with more of the property. This is especially important if you do not want to inherit some of your ex’s debts or if you are arguing for other areas of divorce such as child custody.
If you have custody of your kid and plan to continue living in the state, the well-being of your child is always a topic that can influence the court’s decision. As the state wants to minimize any pain divorce brings to the parents’ child, it typically wants to keep the child’s sense of familiarity intact.
Moving homes would make your child’s adjustment to the situation more difficult. Your kid might have to change schools and lose friends in the process. It would add more misery to an already tough development in a child’s life. Bringing this up demonstrates your concerns as a parent and makes you look better to the court.
Use fault-based grounds for divorce
Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the spouse filing for divorce does not have to prove any fault on the other spouse for causing it. Indiana does not recognize fault divorces unless one of the spouses receives a felony conviction or is diagnosed with incurable insanity.
While you cannot use adultery as a fault for divorce, you can use it in property arguments if you have the right evidence. As Indiana considers both your property and debt as shared, if your ex used your shared finances without your knowledge for the affair, that fact could be a point in your favor for keeping the house.
The first step
If you want to obtain a larger share of your property than your ex, gather as much evidence as you can. Review both of your financial backgrounds and obtain sufficient proof that you are the deserving party to receive the house.