Indiana Divorce Basics

Learn the basics of a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, in Indiana.

This article outlines the rules and procedures for getting a divorce in Indiana.

Grounds for Divorce

An Indiana court will grant a divorce based on any of the following grounds: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, a felony conviction of either party during the marriage, impotence existing during the marriage, or incurable insanity of either party lasting for at least two years. An “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” is the basis of a no-fault divorce, which means that the court will grant a divorce regardless of blame and without evidence of wrongdoing. The other grounds are the basis for a fault divorce, meaning one spouse caused the end of the marriage.    

Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

In order to file for divorce in Indiana, one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six months immediately before the filing of divorce, and must live in the county in which the divorce is filed for at least three months.

After you file the divorce petition, there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period before the court can make the divorce final.

Property Division in Indiana

Indiana is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will distribute any property acquired during the marriage fairly between the spouses, but the distribution doesn’t have to be equal. Both spouses have the right to argue that the court’s equitable distribution of property is not just and reasonable based on the each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of property, when the property was acquired, the economic circumstances of each party, the conduct of the parties during marriage, and the earning abilities of both parties. The spouses also have the right to agree to a disposition themselves, so that the court doesn’t have to be involved beyond approving the settlement agreement.

Alimony

The court may order alimony, otherwise known as maintenance, in both a divorce and a legal separation. A judge might order maintenance for a spouse if it is found that the spouse lacks property, education, or enough work training to be self-sufficient.  

The party paying support may return to the court to ask for a modification of maintenance if it can be shown that there is a significant change in circumstances that is  so substantial and continuous that it would make the support order unreasonable.

Child Support

In Indiana, parents have a duty to pay child support until the child is 21 years old, unless: 1) the child is emancipated before 21 years of age, 2) the child is incapacitated, or 3) the child is at least 18 years old but has not attended or enrolled in secondary or postsecondary education and is capable of self support.

A child who is married, has joined the armed forces, or is not under the care or control of the parents or an agency approved by the court may be considered to be emancipated. If the child is incapacitated, then child support would continue through the period of incapacity, or until the court decides otherwise. Finally, if the child is only capable of being partially self-supporting, the court may order continuing child support.  You’ll find guidelines and details on child support payments at the website for the  Child Support Bureau of Indiana.

Child Custody

Like many other states, Indiana courts determine child custody based on the best interest of the child. The judge will consider the wishes of child and the parents, the living conditions of the child with each parent, and the relationship between the child, the parents, and other siblings. The court will also take into consideration who the child wishes to live with if the child is older than 14.

In Indiana, if a parent only has visitation rights and has in the past been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence that was witnessed or heard by the child, then the court may order that parenting time be supervised. The visits would be supervised for at least one year, but not more than two years immediately following the crime or until the child is emancipated, whichever occurs first.

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