Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Indiana Divorce Laws



Residency Requirements for Divorce in Indiana
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county for 3 months in which the petition is filed for immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-6].

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Indiana

  1. No Fault Divorce: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
    [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-3].
  2. General Divorce:
    1. Impotence at the time of marriage
    2. Conviction of a felony
    3. Incurable mental illness for 2 years.
    [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-3].
Legal Separation in Indiana
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county for 3 months immediately prior to filing for legal separation. A legal separation may be granted on the grounds that it is currently intolerable for the spouses to live together, but that the marriage should be maintained.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapters 3-2 and 3-3].

Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in Indiana
The court may enter a summary dissolution decree without holding a court hearing in all cases in which the following requirements have been met:

  1. 60 days have elapsed since the filing of a petition for dissolution
  2. The petition was verified and signed by both spouses
  3. The petition contained a written waiver of a final hearing
  4. The petition contained either:
    • A statement that there are no contested issues
    • That the spouses have made a written agreement in settlement of any contested issues
If there are some remaining contested issues, the court may hold a final hearing on those remaining contested issues. In addition, marital settlement agreements are specifically authorized in Indiana.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapters 2-13 and 2-17].

Divorce Mediation or Counseling Requirements
Upon the request of either spouse or if the court believes that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, the dissolution of marriage proceedings may be delayed for up to 45 days and the spouses may be ordered to seek counseling.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapters 2-10 and 9.4-1].

Divorce Property Distribution
Indiana is an "equitable distribution" state. The court will divide all of the spouses' property in a just manner, whether jointly or separately owned and whether acquired before or after the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. There is a presumption that an equal division is just and reasonable. Marital fault is not a factor. The following factors are considered:

  1. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, regardless of whether the contribution was income-producing
  2. The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence to the spouse having custody of the children
  3. The actual earnings and the present and potential earning capability of each spouse
  4. The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse prior to marriage or through gift or inheritance
  5. The conduct of the spouses during the marriage as it relates to the disposition of their property
  6. The tax consequences of any property division
If there is insufficient marital property, the court may award money to either spouse as reimbursement for the financial contribution by 1 spouse toward the higher education of the other.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 7].

Alimony and Spousal Support
Maintenance will be awarded to a spouse who:

  1. Is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to support himself or herself
  2. Lacks sufficient property to provide support for himself or herself and any incapacitated child and must forgo employment to care for the physically or mentally incapacitated child. Marital fault is not a factor
In addition, rehabilitative maintenance may be granted to a spouse for up to 3 years, based on the following factors:
  1. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment
  2. The educational level of each spouse at the time of the marriage and at the time the action is commenced
  3. Whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or childcare responsibilities, or both
  4. The earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence or absence from the job market
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 7].

Spouse's Name After Divorce
Upon request, the wife's former name may be restored.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-18].

Child Custody After Divorce
Joint or sole custody is granted based on the best interests of the child, and based upon the following factors:

  1. The age and sex of the child
  2. The preference of the child
  3. The wishes of the parents
  4. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  6. The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members

Joint custody may be awarded if it is in the best interest of the child and based upon the following factors:

  1. The physical proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of where the child will reside
  2. The fitness and suitability of the parents
  3. The nature of the physical and emotional environment in the home of each of the persons awarded joint custody
  4. The willingness and ability of the persons awarded joint custody to communicate and cooperate in advancing the child's welfare
  5. The wishes of the child
  6. Whether the child has established a close and beneficial relationship with both of the persons awarded joint custody
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapters 17-2-8, 17-2-8.5, and 17-2-15].

Child Support After Divorce
Either parent may be ordered to pay reasonable child support, without regard to marital fault, based on the following factors:

  1. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved
  2. The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child
  3. The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent
Support may be ordered to include medical, hospital, dental, and educational support. Support payments may be required to be paid through the clerk of the court. Specific Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines are contained in the Indiana Supreme Court Child Support Rules.
[Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 6].


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