By Sara Pitcher
Cordell & Cordell Indiana Divorce Lawyer
The court may in effect punish the wealthier spouse, usually the husband, by putting aside more property to the lower-earning spouse, either for a specified amount of time, until the occurrence of a specified event, or as a permanent division.
In addition, the court may determine that one way to provide for the lower-earning spouse who was granted primary physical custody of the children is to allow this spouse to keep the marital home. As our readers know, this is usually the mother.
Courts generally believe this serves the purpose of providing for the children and allowing them to stay in the home they are familiar with and the same schools to keep some things constant for them when so much else is changing. It also provides the primary physical custodian an increased share of the marital property temporarily.
Who Gets What?
Instead of awarding more assets to one party than the other, the court may order more of the marital debt to be assumed by one party. The idea is that the higher-earning spouse will be able to recover financially more quickly following the split than the lower-earning spouse and can better afford to manage the debts.
Courts rarely use this factor to permanently divide property if the disparity in income is not substantial. The lower earning spouse must often have no chance of ever being able to earn more, such as because of a disability that limits the time the individual is able to work.
Otherwise, awarding one spouse more of the marital property than the other spouse could result in a windfall to the spouse earning less at the time of the divorce if they then go on to earn more than the other spouse later.
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