What’s “Fair” in a Divorce?

Fair means just or appropriate given the circumstances at hand, and in a perfect world, everyone would agree on what’s fair. However, the world is not perfect, and people see things differently. This difference in opinion impacts how people view fairness, as someone’s idea of what’s right may look suspicious or outright unfair to someone else.

The misalignment of what’s fair is why most divorces need to be resolved in court.

Unfortunately, a court’s determination of what’s fair may be different from what you’d expect, but Hollingsworth Roberts Means is here to help you understand how courts decide fair divorce outcomes.

Indiana Property Division

Property division is the legal splitting of assets between two spouses. Indiana follows an equitable distribution policy, which means courts split property between spouses in what is determined to be fair given the circumstances of the marriage.

Factors that can impact the equitable distribution of property include:

  • Marital fault: Although Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, the grounds of a dissolution may impact property division and other aspects of a divorce.
  • Economic misconduct: Economic misconduct is when someone misuses money to fuel an unhealthy habit (alcoholism, drugs) or hobby (gambling). Judges will consider the financial misconduct of a spouse and award them a lower percentage of the marital property.
  • Income and earning capacity: If one spouse has a significantly lower earning capacity than the other, the spouse with a low income earning capacity may receive a larger percentage of the estate.
  • Child custody: One spouse’s full custody of the couple’s children may result in a higher likelihood of him or her receiving a higher percentage of the estate.
  • Nonmonetary contributions: Judges must account for nonmonetary marital contributions such as household chores, cooking, homemaking, and childcare when splitting marital assets.

Clearly, many factors impact the determination of the equitable distribution of property in a divorce. However, property division isn’t the only divorce outcome impacted by several variables.

Indiana Custody & Child Support Agreements

Although child support and child custody agreements are less complicated than property division processes, they are understandably more emotional. However, a judge’s job is to attempt to fairly divide the custody and child-rearing responsibilities between both parents.

Here are some of the factors that may impact child custody and child support agreements:

  • Age and sex of the child;
  • Interaction between the child and siblings;
  • Child’s current comfort level in school;
  • Health of the child and each parent;
  • Child’s current home life situation;
  • Criminal history of each parent; and
  • Income stability of each parent.

Essentially, a judge will evaluate all the above and more through the lens of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTG). Using the general guidelines as a basis, a judge will determine the child support and child custody scenario that primarily fits the needs of the child while also considering the needs of the parents.

Hiring a Lawyer Can Help You Fight for What’s Fair

As you can see, many factors impact how a judge determines the various outcomes of a divorce, and that’s why anyone heading into the divorce process needs a solid understanding of how the state splits assets and awards child custody. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone.

A Hollingsworth Roberts Means divorce attorney can examine the facts of a case by asking a client personal questions regarding their estate, their history, and their current life. Once the attorney gathers the facts, she will go to court and demand a fair outcome on behalf of the client, one that is in line with the law and the client’s wishes.

If this is what you want for your case, Hollingsworth & Zivitz is ready to hear from you!

If you want experienced representation on your side, call (888) 211-3888 now for a free consultation.