How Do I File for Divorce in Indiana
Get an overview of the divorce filing process in Indiana.
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In Indiana, any type of divorce proceeding is referred to as a "dissolution of marriage." If you are looking to end your marriage in Indiana, this article provides a general overview of the process as well as a list of the forms you will need to file.
Residency Requirement and Reasons for Divorce
Indiana is generally known as a "no-fault divorce" state, however, state law provides for limited fault-based grounds. Most divorcing couples choose a no-fault divorce because it doesn't require you to get into all the reasons for the divorce. Instead, you simply state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." If you choose to file a fault-based complaint, Indiana provides just three grounds, which include insanity, impotence, or a felony conviction.
Regardless of which type of divorce you file, at least one party must have lived in Indiana for a minimum of six months and in the county of filing for three months prior to filing the complaint.
Preparing Your Forms
The issues in your case will determine which forms you must file; however, all Indiana divorces require the following forms:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Financial Declaration, and
- Child Support Obligation Worksheet (if you have minor children).
These forms are available for download from the Indiana Judicial Branch's Self-Service Center. You can also download a packet of fillable forms based on the type of case you are filing.
Filing Your Forms
Once you have assembled the required forms, you must file them with the clerk of court's office in your county. Each county has its own rules regarding how many copies you must file, however, a statewide rule requires that you print any documents containing confidential information on light green paper. Indiana defines confidential information as:
- Social Security numbers
- bank account numbers
- tax records
- PIN numbers
- medical records, and
- child abuse records.
Serving Your Forms
Once your forms are filed, you must "serve" your spouse with a copy. "Service of process" notifies your spouse that you have filed a divorce case and gives the other person an opportunity to file an answer, counterclaim, or both. Indiana law allows you to serve your spouse via certified mail, private process server, or sheriff's service.
After you have served the documents, you and your spouse can try to work out an agreement. An uncontested divorce is generally much less expensive than seeing a case all the way through to trial.
If you manage to handle the issues on your own, you will need to file a settlement agreement with the court. Your agreement should address all the items in your divorce petition, including the distribution of assets and debts. If you have children, you must also file a parenting plan that designates which parent will have custody and how each side will exercise visitation.
Whether you reach an agreement or choose to go forward with trial, Indiana imposes a 60-day waiting period before a court will grant a final decree ending the marriage.
In the period between the initial filing and the final hearing, both sides must exchange financial information, including a list of all income, assets, and debts.
More Information & Resources
See our area on Indiana Divorce & Family Laws for more information on the divorce process and related legal issues.