When a couple goes through a divorce in Indiana, the marital home is commonly the largest asset that the couple must divide. It can be difficult to determine the value of the home for purposes of property division. The typical process is to hire an appraiser to determine the value of the home and then have one spouse compensate the other, via other property or cash, so each walks away with the appropriate amount. Alternatively, the home can be sold on the open market and the proceeds divided between the parties.
There are online services available to provide a rough estimate of a home’s value. Zillow.com, for example, will give visitors estimated prices for their homes and other real property in the area. These estimates may be useful, but they are unlikely to tell the whole story. Most homes are secured by mortgages. Any liability in the home must be subtracted from the sale price to arrive at net profit. The difference between the home’s value and any debts it secures is referred to as home equity.
Once the amount of home equity is determined, the process shifts to a fair division between the spouses. If the home was purchased during the term of the marriage and paid for using funds earned during the marriage, a court is likely to decide that each spouse is entitled to half of the equity. The analysis depends on the facts of the case though.
Individuals in Indiana who are approaching or going through a divorce might want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. A lawyer who has experience handling divorce cases may be able to help by identifying and categorizing the assets of the couple, by negotiating the terms of property division or by drafting and filing a petition for divorce. A lawyer might also argue for the client during child support or child custody hearings.