Indiana Divorce Laws

Indiana Divorce

In order to have a legal divorce in Indiana, individuals must first meet the residency requirements for the state. The court must also accept the requirements, and if the court finds that the jurisdiction falls elsewhere, the case will be dismissed.

When a divorce petition is first entered at least one of the individuals involved in the divorce must be a resident of the state of Indiana. In the case of armed forces, an individual must be stationed in Indiana for a minimum of six months to be considered a resident for petitioning. All divorce proceedings are to be filed in the county circuit court where at least one individual has a residence. If the individual petitioning for divorce does not reside in Indiana, the proceedings are to be filed in the Indiana county of the other spouse.

Divorce residency requirements in Indiana

If you wish to apply for dissolution of marriage in the state of Indiana then you must meet certain requirements. These are as follows:

  1. At the time of applying for dissolution of marriage at least, one of the spouses must have been a resident or stationed in Indiana if in the military for a period of 6 months at least at the time of applying for the dissolution of marriage.
  2. The application is usually made in whatever county the spouse applying for divorce resides in

Divorcing Grounds in Indiana

All divorces, no matter where they be in the United States, need to be based on certain legal grounds. The grounds for an Indiana divorce will need to follow Indiana laws. Both individuals petitioning for divorce will conclude on what grounds they will be filing for divorce. If only one individual is bringing the proceedings to the court, then he or she will have to decide on his or her own and prepare to defend these grounds to a judge.

Indiana has two different types of divorcing grounds. Dissolution of marriage may be granted by the courts if one of the specified grounds of either no-fault based grounds or fault-based grounds is met:

No-fault based grounds

The first is called no-fault grounds where the marriage has been deemed irretrievable. In these cases couples counseling can often precede a divorce petition.

  • An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage from which there can be no reconciliation

Fault-based grounds

The second type of divorce is called fault grounds and has three subsections. The first is where one of the individuals involved in the marriage has been convicted of a felony offense. The second is where impotence has been the cause for the breaking of the marriage. And the final subsection is that of mental insanity for a period of two years or more and having been deemed incurable.

  • A felony conviction
  • Impotence which existed at the time of the marriage
  • 2 years of incurable insanity Indiana Code – Title 31 – Article 15 – Chapters: 2-3

Property division factors

Under the marital settlement agreement, spouses can divide property as they see fit. However, if they cannot do it amicably then it will be down to the Domestic Relations Court to divide the property. They will do this equitably and first, they will decide which property is classed as marital property. A value will then be put on the marital property and this is divided equitably with the following in mind:

  • The contribution of each of the spouses towards the property
  • The extent to which the property was acquired by each of the spouses (A) before the marriage or (B) as a gift or inheritance
  • The economic circumstances of each of the spouses at the time of properly distribution
  • The conduct of the spouses in consideration to the division of the property
  • The earnings or the earning ability of the spouses Indiana Code – Title 31 – Article 15 – Chapters: 7

Child custody factors in Indiana

If the courts are making a custody award, they consider the following factors along with any other relevant information:

  1. The sex and age of the child
  2. The wishes of the spouses
  3. The wishes of the child and in particular if the child is above the age of 14
  4. The interaction and relationship of the child with their parents, siblings, any other person related to the child, or anyone who may significantly affect the best interests of the child
  5. The physical and mental health of all parties involved
  6. Evidence of domestic or violence in the family of any type
  7. Evidence that the child in question has been cared for by de facto custodian Indiana Code – Title 31 – Article 15 – Chapters: 17-2-8, 17-2-8.5 and 17-2-15

Child support guidelines

When considering a child support order the court provides “at a glance” guidelines to what laws are taken into consideration.

  • Income share model – yes
  • Percentage of income model – no
  • Available worksheet – yes
  • Medical expenses which are considered extraordinary – yes
  • Childcare add on – yes
  • Secondary education support – yes
  • UIFSA – yes

* The income shares model: In Indiana, the amount of child support is calculated by estimating the amount of support that the child would have if the divorce had not occurred. This amount is then divided by the courts according to the income of the spouses. This is done with the help of the worksheet with income proof being substantiated with proof of past earnings. As a rough guide, the parent with a substantially lower income would be asked to pay the least amount of child support.

Granting of Spousal Support

Though many divorce cases end in spousal support, not all do. There is no Indiana law that states that spousal support is mandatory, as it is awarded depending on the circumstances of the case. This kind of support can be awarded on a permanent basis or a temporary basis.

When spousal support is to be rewarded, if the individuals involved cannot reach an understanding, then the court will weigh the case and the finances of each and will be decided accordingly.

The court can take several variances into consideration beforehand. These include supporting a spouse while he or she is mentally incapacitated; determining the property and funds involved to provide for necessities; how many children are involved, if any, and who will be caring for them; the previous education of each individual when the marriage commenced and ended and if the education was halted due to the marriage; the capacity for how each individual will be able to earn finances after the divorce; and the ability to acquire sufficient education in the future.

Leave a Comment