When contemplating divorce, it is mentally taxing and confusing because most litigants do not understand the basics of Indiana divorce law. For families where a mother has stayed at home and raised the children and husband has worked and become entitled to a large pension, the question is whether the pension is divided on divorce. Is a wife entitled to a portion of her husband’s pension? This blog explores this question.
In Indiana, all property (including the marital residence and pension) brought into the marriage, acquired during the marriage, or acquired up to the point of filing for divorce is marital property subject to division. The Court, by statute, is to presume an equal division is just and equitable. Therefore, any pension is likely to be divided between husband and wife. This is accomplished by an order from the Court called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. With this order, a pension can be divided, as it ensures the division complies with all state and federal laws.
One unique aspect of Indiana divorce law as it relates to pensions is sometimes a trial court will use a coverture fraction to divide the pension. This type of valuation only values the amount of the pension acquired during the marriage and divides this equally. This is where a skilled legal advocate is needed to argue against this valuation technique as it will be less than an equal division.
However, while a pension and all other marital property is subject to a presumed equal division, the court could deviate and award a wife a larger portion of the pension than fifty percent (50%). The point for the wife is to get a just and equitable division. For a mother who has stayed home and not worked, she may also be entitled to rehabilitative maintenance to acquire a degree or other skills to obtain gainful employment. Rehabilitative maintenance is a reasonable sum the trial court orders paid to the mother by her husband for up to three (3) years to pay for education or training.
Ultimately, obtaining a just and reasonable division of the marital estate on divorce requires knowledge that the court presumes an equal division and understanding how to argue for division of the pension (argue against a couverture fraction valuation) and other assets to protect your future on divorce. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle divorces cases throughout Indiana. Perhaps we would be a good fit to be your domestic counsel. This blog is written for general educational purposes only. This is not a solicitation for services or legal advice. This is an advertisement.