Indiana Divorce Laws - Divorce in Indiana | Cordell & Cordell

Indiana Divorce Laws – Divorce in Indiana FAQ

How long does it take to get a divorce in Indiana

Indiana men’s divorce attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions about the divorce process and divorce laws in Indiana.

What are the laws for divorce in Indiana?

Although Indiana is a “no-fault” divorce state, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must declare the appropriate grounds upon which the dissolution is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The dissolution of marriage grounds are as follows:

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Fault:

  • The felony conviction of either of the parties;
  • Impotence; or
  • Incurable insanity for a period of at least two years.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Indiana?

Typically, it takes at least 60 days before the court can finalize a divorce in Indiana. Once the divorce is filed, the court can issue temporary orders, but the actual divorce cannot be finalized until 60 days have passed from the date that the divorce was filed. 

How much does it cost to get a divorce in Indiana?

Unfortunately, how much a divorce costs is based on too many variables to provide an estimate of anticipated costs. The costs depend on the actions of the parties, their needs and wants, and how they choose to seek those goals. You are the best person to evaluate your ability to afford the process, and this analysis should be done on a continuing basis.

Do I really need to hire an attorney?

Yes. By its very nature, your dissolution involves the most important things in your life. It is imperative that you have someone who understands the legal process and can represent your interests vigorously in order to protect your wellbeing.

Does Indiana grant divorces based on marital fault?

Yes, the grounds for which are the conviction of either party of a felony, impotence, or incurable insanity for a period of at least two years. However, Indiana is a no-fault state, meaning the court will also grant the parties a divorce on the grounds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, i.e. neither party is at fault.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in Indiana?

From a legal standpoint, there are no implications for who files for divorce first in Indiana. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to submitting a divorce petition first. While it can provide the filing party with the upper hand to properly prepare legal representation and documentation, being the individual who sets forth the dissolution of the marriage must often list their desired demands first within the petition and be confident in their decision that divorce is the right option for their marriage. 

How is property divided in a divorce in Indiana?

In Indiana, property will typically be divided in half. While that does not mean items will always be split 50/50, the value of marital property will generally be divided equally between the two. However, there are instances where the court will give one spouse more property than the other. This can be contingent on a number of factors including: spousal contribution to the marriage, child custody, earnings and earning ability of the parties, how martial property was acquired (inheritance, pre-marriage acquisition), and conduct of the parties in relation to property (how well did each spouse take care of property). 

Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse in a divorce in Indiana?

The court will make an award of maintenance from one spouse to the other in three circumstances. The first is if the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of that spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected.

The second circumstance is when a court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s needs and the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment.

Finally, if a spouse has had an interruption in their education, training, or employment as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, the court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for that spouse is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three years from the date of the final decree.

Can I change my name at the time of divorce in Indiana?

A woman who desires the restoration of her maiden or previous married name must set out the name she desires to be restored to her in her petition for dissolution as part of the relief sought. The court shall grant the name change upon entering the decree of dissolution.

Can I get an annulment in Indiana?

An annulment may be granted upon a showing by a party of one of the following grounds: one spouse is under age or was mentally incompetent to consent; the marriage was obtained by fraud; one spouse is of unsound mind; or one spouse was married in another state with the intent to evade the marriage laws of Indiana.

When can I file for divorce in Indiana?

At the time of filing a petition for dissolution, at least one party must have been a resident of Indiana or stationed at a U.S. military installation within Indiana for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.

When is my case going to be over?

Once you file your Petition for Dissolution, Indiana law implements a 60-day waiting period during which the parties’ divorce may not be granted. After expiration of the waiting period, the parties may proceed to a final hearing to resolve their dissolution. However, it could take longer than 60 days, depending on the issues of your case and the court’s schedule.

Do I have to go to court for a divorce in Indiana?

You do not necessarily have to go to court. There are many ways to resolve most parties’ issues without litigation, including mediation and settlement conferences. If you cannot resolve all of the issues in this way, you can usually settle most of them. The remaining issues would then be litigated in court.

If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

If you cannot find your spouse and you have made reasonable efforts to do so, you can ask the court to notify your spouse of the divorce by putting a notice in the local newspaper. After this is done, you can finalize the divorce even if there is no proof that your spouse saw the notice.

At what point during the process can a spouse remarry or start dating in Indiana?

A person may not remarry until a Decree of Divorce is issued. When and if you start dating is a personal decision, but consideration should be made to the best interests of your children.

What if my spouse does not want the divorce?

You can get a divorce even if your spouse does not want it. Once the court issues a Decree of Divorce, you are considered divorced. Your spouse’s consent is not necessary.

Do the other issues – child support, child custody, alimony, and property – have to be decided before finalizing a divorce in Indiana?

Yes, these issues will all be resolved as part of the final Decree of Dissolution.

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in Indiana?

You are not required to remain in the state while your dissolution is pending. If you have children in the state, you may be prevented from relocating during the pendency of your dissolution. If you do move, you will still be expected to return to Indiana to attend any mandatory hearings in court.

What if I am in the military and out of the state of Indiana?

If you are on active duty and are unable to return to Indiana for your court appearances, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows you to ask the court to delay proceedings while you are unavailable due to military service.

What forms do I need to file for a divorce in Indiana?

This depends on the issues relevant to each individual case, but your initial pleadings will generally include a Petition for Dissolution and Summons, to be followed by a Financial Declaration and a Child Support Obligation Worksheet if you have children. In order to protect your interests, you should consult an attorney to assist in the preparation of these and any other necessary forms.

How and where is a divorce complaint filed in Indiana?

A divorce complaint (or Petition for Dissolution) is filed in the county of your residence (for at least three months) in the state in which you have lived for at least six months. The petition may be hand-filed in the clerk’s office of the county in which you are filing.

How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse?

You spouse may be served by certified or registered mail, personal service by the sheriff, or private service. Once your petition is filed, you must wait for the expiration of the mandatory waiting period before your divorce may be granted.

How is a divorce in Indiana granted? Will I have to go to court?

If the parties do not come to an agreement on all issues relevant to their divorce, the court will set the remaining matters for a final hearing, or trial. Should your case proceed to a final hearing, your presence there would be mandatory. The court would then hear evidence on those issues from both parties, issue a ruling on the issues, and grant the couple a divorce.

What typically happens if I go to an Indiana court to obtain my divorce myself?

The outcome of each dissolution case is dependent on the many factors and issues involved in each individual case. An attorney familiar with family law and skilled in domestic litigation should analyze each case and the strategy that should be employed to meet your desired goals on a case-by-case basis.

At any time can a parent change a minor child’s last name during a divorce in Indiana without the other parent’s permission?

A parent may not change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission unless their right to consent has been removed by law. In the absence of these circumstances, the parent wishing to change the child’s name must petition the court and obtain consent from the other parent.

Can a couple become legally married by living together as man and wife under Indiana law (common law marriage)?

There is no common law marriage in Indiana.