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Legal Requirements For A Divorce In Indiana

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Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
August 24, 2020

In this article, we discuss the legal requirements for a divorce in Indiana. We answer questions surrounding:

  • statutory grounds for dissolution of marriage in Indiana
  • property division in Indiana
  • legal custody in Indiana
  • spousal maintenance in Indiana
  • legal separation

Indiana law refers to divorce as a Dissolution of Marriage. To file for a dissolution of marriage in Indiana, you or your spouse must have lived in Indiana for at least 6 months. You or your spouse must have lived in the county you filed for 3 months.

Statutory Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage in Indiana 

There are four possible legal reasons for dissolution of marriage in Indiana. The first, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, is the most common because it can be proven by testimony of either of the parties. The three others are highly specific. They are: a felony conviction by either of the parties during the marriage; impotency existing at the time of the marriage; or Incurable insanity of either party for at least 2 years.

Property Division in Indiana 

The goal for Indiana Dissolution of Marriage is fair division of marital property. Exceptions to marital property include property acquired by either party prior to the marriage, inheritance, and separate gifts. The court looks at what each person contributed to the marriage, either financially or through other means such as taking care of the home or children. Both parties need to fully disclose all finances and assets in their possession. If there are children of the marriage, the marital home might go to the home of the primary caregiver.

Legal Custody, Parenting Time and Child Support in Indiana

All court decisions regarding children are based on the best interest of the child. Indiana law is based on the belief that the child should have a strong relationship with both parents. Divorcing parents will be subject to orders for legal custody, parenting time and child support as part of their dissolution of marriage.

  • Legal Custody involves the right to be informed and to make decisions for the child’s welfare, including health care, education, and religion. Parents may share legal custody equally even if they do not have the same amount of parenting time.
  • Parenting Time is the parent’s right to spend time with the child. Depending on each parent’s circumstances, the time may be shared equally or divided depending on work schedules, the age of the children, or which parent has historically been the primary caregiver.
  • Child Support: Indiana distributes child support based on the shared income model, with the goal of supplying the same standard of living the children would have had if their parents were not divorced. Each party’s income is added together, then divided by the percentage each parent contributes. Child support orders also consider the amount of parenting time each parent has, and which parent is in the better financial position to contribute to the needs of the child.

Spousal Maintenance 

Indiana allows for maintenance of a spouse for a maximum of 3 years, or possibly longer if the spouse is incapacitated or caring for an incapacitated child. The maintenance order is dependent on the relative earning potential of each party and considers the parties’ educational level and how long a party has been away from the workplace. The goal is to help put the party receiving maintenance in a position to support themselves in their new life. 

Legal Separation

If you are unable to continue married life but not sure you want to end your marriage, Indiana allows parties to file for legal separation when the couple’s current circumstances make it intolerable for them to live together, but they would like to maintain the marriage. Legal Separation allows for temporary allocation of assets and debts so the parties can live independently of one another. The parties can end a legal separation or convert it to a dissolution action at any time.


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Legal Requirements For A Divorce In Indiana

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