How Do I File for Divorce in Indiana

Learn about the forms and procedures you'll need to file for divorce in Indiana.

In Indiana, the court refers to any divorce proceeding as a "dissolution of marriage." If you want to end your marriage in Indiana, this article provides a general overview of the process.

Grounds for Divorce and Residency Requirement

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 the marriage didn't work out. Instead, you state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," which means there is no chance you will get back together.

If you choose to file a fault-based complaint, Indiana provides just three grounds, which include insanity, impotence, or a felony conviction. (IN Code § 31-15-2-3 (2018.))

Regardless of which type of divorce you pursue, at least one party must have lived in Indiana for a minimum of six months and in the county of filing for three months before filing the complaint. (IN Code § 31-15-2-6 (2018.))

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
  • Summons
  • Financial Declaration, and
  • Child Support Obligation Worksheet (if you have minor children).

You can find many divorce forms for download from the Indiana Legal Help website. You can also download a packet of fillable forms based on the type of case you are filing.

Filing Your Forms

Once you've completed 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, and there is a statewide law that 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 you file all your forms, you must serve your spouse with copies of your divorce documents. "Service of process" notifies your spouse that you have filed for divorce and provides your spouse 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. (IN Code § 31-15-2-8 (2018.))

After you have served the documents, you and your spouse can try to work out an agreement on all of your divorce-related issues, which typically include:

If you're able to reach an agreement on all your issues, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce, which is generally much less expensive than seeing a case all the way through to trial. 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 a trial, Indiana imposes a 60-day waiting period before a court will grant a final decree ending the marriage.

Financial Disclosures

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.

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