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Indiana Divorce Laws

Divorce laws vary from state to state. For instance, some states have residency requirements you must meet before filing for divorce. Others have mandatory waiting periods for the judge to issue your final divorce decree.

Indiana's divorce laws are similar to those of most other states. All states offer a no-fault divorce, including Indiana. The divorce process in Indiana is also comparable to that of other states.

Here, we’ll provide a brief overview of divorce laws in Indiana. We will also discuss the types of divorces you can file in Indiana. Please visit the chart below and links to additional Indiana divorce resources.

Legal Requirements for Divorce in Indiana

As stated above, you must meet residency requirements to file for divorce in Indiana. You or your spouse must live in-state for six months before filing for divorce. You, or your spouse, must also live in the county for three months preceding your divorce filing. You’ll file your petition for dissolution of marriage in the county you live in or your spouse lives in.

There is also a mandatory waiting period in Indiana. According to the Indiana courts, the judge can’t finalize your divorce for at least 60 days. This is understandable, given that your spouse (the respondent) has 30 days to file their answer.

Types of Divorce in Indiana

There are two types of divorce cases in Indiana - contested and uncontested. You will file an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse agree to most divorce terms. These cases resolve much more quickly than contested divorce cases.

The parties already have a marital settlement agreement in an uncontested divorce case. This agreement outlines the terms of the divorce. The parties submit a copy of this agreement to the judge for approval.

Once the judge approves your agreement, they will issue your final decree of divorce. The requisite 60-day waiting period is still in effect.

In a contested divorce, you and your spouse may agree on some things but not others, or on nothing at all. Once your spouse files their answer, your Indiana divorce lawyer will work hard to negotiate a marital settlement agreement. You may have to go to trial if they can't do this.

Some of the issues that cause contested divorces include the following:

  • Alimony/Spousal maintenance/Spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support obligations
  • Child care responsibilities
  • Division of marital assets and debts

If your divorce attorney can't negotiate a settlement on your behalf, you can try to resolve your divorce case through mediation. If neither happens, you’ll have to go to trial. This is a worst-case scenario.

You and your spouse should try to agree on the division of property, child custody, and alimony between yourselves. You should never put these decisions in the hands of a third party if you can help it. However, if you're dealing with a difficult spouse, your case may have to go to trial.

No-Fault Divorce and Fault-Based Divorce

All states, including Indiana, allow no-fault divorce. Filing for a no-fault divorce means you don’t have to allege or prove that your spouse did anything wrong for the judge to grant your divorce. All you have to do is certify that there’s been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Many courts refer to this as irreconcilable differences.

Indiana also recognizes fault-based divorce. To file this type of petition, you must cite specific grounds for divorce in your petition. These include:

  • Felony conviction
  • Incurable insanity for at least two years
  • Impotence at the time of marriage

You must prove the grounds for divorce during your divorce proceedings. The judge will take your word for it if your spouse doesn’t file an answer.

Child Custody and Child Support in Indiana

The hope is that you and your spouse will negotiate child custody between the two of you. If you can’t do this, the judge will determine child custody. The Indiana court's primary concern is the best interests of the child.

As for child support, Indiana uses an income-share model. First, the courts determine the estimated cost of raising a child before calculating the non-custodial parent’s share of the total income. Whatever proportion of income they decide on will be the percentage of child support they pay.

If you and your spouse have children, you should be aware of Indiana child custody laws and state laws pertaining to child support guidelines and child support enforcement.

Indiana Divorce Laws: At a Glance

The main provisions of Indiana's divorce laws are listed in the table below.

Indiana Divorce Code Section

§ 31-15-2-2 et seq. of the Indiana Code

Residency Requirements

One party at filing must be a resident for 6 months

Waiting Period

Final hearing no sooner than 60 days after filing; continue matter for 45 days for the parties to pursue reconciliation; after 45 days, the judge may enter decree upon request; if no request after 90 days, the matter is dismissed

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Denial of the allegations is the most common ground of defense to a fault-based divorce petition

Other Grounds for Divorce

  • Impotency
  • Insanity for at least two years
  • Conviction of a felony

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Learn More About Indiana Divorce Laws From a Lawyer

Getting divorced can be a harrowing experience. It's an emotional drain to fight over things like alimony and child custody. Sometimes it's better to have an experienced divorce lawyer handle things for you.

If you're considering divorce, contact a skilled divorce attorney in Indiana for legal advice and guidance throughout the divorce process.

Research the Law

Indiana Divorce Laws: Related Resources

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