What Indiana law says about prenups
The state of Indiana views marriage as a contractual agreement. Therefore, there are rules governing distribution of assets if the couple divorces or one spouse dies.
“These rules will prevail unless there is a valid prenuptial agreement specifying an alternative asset distribution scheme preferred by the couple,” says Angela Gloy, a Purdue University Extension ag economist.
• Indiana laws govern the dissolution of a marriage.
• A prenuptial agreement takes precedence.
• The courts prefer not to break up an operating farm if possible.
Depending upon how the property is titled, husband and wife may have equal ownership shares. “Generally, assets are divided pursuant to Indiana’s 50/50 presumption,” says Andrew Bloch, an attorney who deals with ag law, Carmel. “When the divorce is filed, the marital pot closes. Every asset and debt on the date of filing are fair game for the court to consider. If there are assets that are not contemplated at the time of the prenuptial agreement, the courts will use Indiana law to divide those remaining assets.”
However, Bloch says most courts try to prevent a family farm from being dismantled through a divorce, but unless one party rebuts the equal split assumption, the court may have no choice.
“Prenuptial agreements can be an important, albeit it touchy, subject, but farm families should seriously consider them to protect the family farming operation,” Bloch says.
Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute.
This article published in the January, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.