Filing For Divorce in Indiana
Getting a Divorce in Indiana? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for the State of Indiana
1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Indiana?
When you file a petition for divorce in Indiana, at least one of you must have lived in the state or been stationed at a United States military installation within Indiana for the six months right before you file.
What county you live in also makes a difference. At least one of you must have been a resident of the county or been stationed at a United States military installation within the county where you file a petition during the three months leading up to filing.
2. Does Indiana have a waiting period?
The court won’t hold a final hearing until at least 60 days after you file a petition for divorce.
3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?
Indiana considers three factors as grounds for divorce:
- One of you is convicted of a felony after you are married.
- One of you was impotent at the time that you were married and continues to be so.
- One of you has been determined to be incurably mentally ill for at least two years.
No one needs to be found at fault if you file for divorce on the basis that your marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning there’s no hope of getting back together.
4. How does Indiana determine the division of property?
It doesn’t matter how you got what you have — everything is fair game in an Indiana divorce. If you leave everything up to the court, it will divide your property regardless of whether:
- It was something you or your spouse owned before you were married.
- It was something you or your spouse earned on your own while you were married and before separating.
- It was something the two of you acquired together.
The court does take a just and reasonable approach to this division. It might divide the property between the two of you, depending on what it is. Or it might give the property to one of you and require you to give the other spouse some money for his or her part of the property — a house may be divided this way, for example. The court may order you both to sell the property and divide the profit. Or if the property is something you or your spouse will receive after you divorce — a pension, for example — the court may designate a percentage to be shared.
As an equitable distribution state, the court will split your property according to what it considers fair unless one of you shows that would not be just and reasonable. Either of you can make a case for something other than equitable distribution based on one of these factors:
- What each of you contributed toward the acquisition of the property.
- Whether the property was something you had before you were married or something you received as an inheritance or gift.
- Your economic circumstances. This factor, in particular, might influence who is allowed to continue living in your home, especially where children are involved.
- The way each of you handled property while you were married.
- Your earnings or earning ability.
The court also will consider one unique circumstance in settling your property: If neither of you has much of anything else to divide, the court may order one of you to pay the other for contributing toward education expenses. This might be an issue if one of you helped pay for the tuition, books and lab fees of the other while he or she got a degree, but the economic rewards of that degree haven’t yet been realized.
Finally, the court will take into account what tax consequences each of you might face based on the property you are awarded.
Of course, you don’t have to leave it to the court. If you both can agree on how to divvy things up, you can present a settlement agreement to the court. Or you can divide what you can agree on, then ask the court for a hearing on those matters you can’t resolve on your own.
5. Does Indiana require mediation before a divorce is granted?
No, it is not always required, though the court may order mediation where appropriate, taking into account whether you can pay for mediation and whether it would help you resolve anything.
6. How does the state determine child custody?
Legal custody and physical custody are two different things. Legal custody outlines how involved each parent is in the major decisions of a child’s life — where a child goes to school, what faith he or she is raised in, and other big issues.
Physical custody addresses where a child will live and with whom. Visitation is then negotiated based your physical custody arrangement.
When weighing whether joint custody is in the best interests of your child, the court considers it important that both you and your spouse agree to joint custody. The court also will look at these factors:
- Whether both of you are suitable for legal custody.
- Whether the two of you are willing and able to communicate about issues relating to your child.
- Your child’s wishes, especially if he or she is 14 or older.
- Whether your child has a good relationship with each of you.
- Whether you both live near each other and plan to continue to do so.
- The physical and emotional environments in your homes.
Joint legal custody does not automatically mean joint physical custody. And your finances are not a matter of consideration in any custody agreements.The court decides physical custody based again on the best interests of the child. To get at that, the court looks at:
- The age and sex of your child.
- Your wishes.
- The wishes of your child, especially if he or she is at least 14 your child’s interaction and relationship with each of you and with his or her siblings or other people involved.
- Your child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
- Everyone’s mental and physical health.
- Any evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence.
- Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian — another primary caregiver — which requires yet another series of considerations.
The court may choose to interview your child privately, too, as well as other medical or mental health professionals.
7. How does the state calculate child support?
Either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support. The factors the court will consider are:
- The financial resources of the parent with whom your child will live.
- The standard of living he or she would have had if you did not separate or divorce.
- The physical, mental and educational needs of your child.
- The financial resources of the parent with whom the child does not live.
A child support order will require one or the other parent to provide medical support for your child. It might even address costs for elementary school, high school and a college education or special medical and dental costs.
The Indiana Child Support Guidelines, which take into account each parent’s income proportionally, spell all this out. But if you and your spouse can agree on something different, you can present that to the court instead. Or you might forgo child support altogether, if both of you are working and can manage.
8. How does the state determine and calculate alimony?
Alimony, also known as maintenance, is not a standard part of divorce proceedings. Rather, it is awarded on a case-by-case basis. Maintenance becomes an issue in these circumstances: one spouse might be ordered to pay the other maintenance if that spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to support himself or herself.One spouse also might be ordered to pay the other maintenance if the court finds that one spouse is leaving the marriage without enough to live on and can’t work because he or she is taking care of a child whose physical or mental condition makes it impossible for the parent to hold a job.
In determining maintenance, the court also will look at:
- Whether one of you had to stop working or going to school to take care of children or a house.
- What kind of income potential each of you has now.
- How long it would take and how much it would cost to get the training or education necessary for employment.
- The educational level each of you attained before you got married and at the time you filed for divorce.
9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Indiana?
No, you are free to remarry after the court delivers the final judgment ending your marriage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
View the state statutes here.
Divorce forms can be downloaded online here.
Please note: Local and state laws change constantly, therefore this information is for educational purposes only. We do our best to keep state-specific information up-to-date, but please contact us to discuss your unique situation.