Indiana Divorce Law Summary

Divorce – State Law Summary – Indiana

Notes: This summary is not intended to be an all-inclusive summary of the laws of dissolution of marriage in the State of Indiana, but does contain basic and other procedures.

Grounds for dissolution of marriage
The State of Indiana permits judgments of dissolution of marriage to be granted upon the following grounds:

1. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;

2. Conviction of a felony by either party;

3. Impotence which existed at the time of the marriage;

4. Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two years. AIC 31-15-2-3

Residency requirements/where to file
At least one of the parties must have been a resident of Indiana for a least six months prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and a resident of the county where the petition is filed for three months immediately prior to the filing of the petition. AIC 31-15-2-6

Name of court and title of action/parties
Depending upon the organization of the courts in the particular county in which the action is filed, a petition for dissolution of marriage may be heard in the Superior, Circuit or Domestic Relations Courts. The title of the action initiating the proceeding is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, while the title of the action granting the relief sought is called the Final Dissolution of Marriage Decree. The party filing the action is referred to as the Petitioner, while the other party is known as the Respondent.

Legal separation
The court may issue a decree of legal separation for a period not to exceed one year if the court finds that the present circumstances of the marriage make it intolerable for both parties to live together; the marriage should be maintained; and neither party has filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. AIC 31-15-3-3

Waiting period
No decree of dissolution of marriage will be issued until at least sixty days have elapsed from the date of the filing of the petition. AIC 31-15-2-13

If the court determines a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that spouse is unable to support himself, the court may order support for that spouse during the period of incapacity.

If the court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her needs and is the custodian of a child whose condition requires that the spouse forego employment, the court will order support for that spouse in an amount and for a term that the court deems appropriate.

Factors the court will consider in determining the amount and term of an award of alimony include:

1. The educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action for dissolution is commenced.

2. Whether an interruption of education, training, or employment of a spouse occurred because of homemaking or child care responsibilities;

3. The earning capacity of each spouse;

4. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.

In no case will the court order alimony for a period in excess of three years. AIC 31-15-7-2

Distribution of property
The court will divide all of the property of the parties, whether jointly or separately owned, as it deems reasonable and just. A rebuttable presumption exists that the property should be divided equally between the parties, although this presumption may be rebutted after consideration of the following factors:

1. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property;

2. The extent to which the property was acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift;

3. The economic circumstances of the parties;

4. The conduct of the parties during the marriage as it relates to the disposition or dissipation of their property;

5. The earnings or earning ability of the parties as it relates to a final division of property and determination of property rights of the parties. AIC 31-15-7-4

Child custody
The court shall determine custody and enter a custody order in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, there is no presumption favoring either parent. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following:

(1) The age and sex of the child.

(2) The wishes of the child’s parent or parents.

(3) The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child’s wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.

(4) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:

(A) the child’s parent or parents;

(B) the child’s sibling; and

(C) any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests.

(5) The child’s adjustment to the child’s:

(A) home;

(B) school; and

(C) community.

(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

(7) Evidence of a pattern of domestic violence by either parent.

(8) Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian.

The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child’s wishes as to his or her custodial arrangements. AIC 31-17-2-8

Child support
In an action for dissolution of marriage, the court may order either or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for the support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct, after consideration of all relevant factors, including:

1. The financial resources of the custodial parent;

2. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;

3. The physical or mental condition of the child and the child’s educational needs;

4. The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

A child support order may also include basic health and hospitalization insurance, where appropriate, as well as provisions for the child’s educational expenses. AIC 31-16-6-1

The court may continue a dissolution proceeding and order the parties to seek counseling if it finds that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, or if there is a minor child of the marriage.

In making a determination as to whether to order the parties to participate in mediation, the court will consider whether the parties have the ability to pay for mediation and whether such mediation would be appropriate in helping the parties resolve their disputes. AIC 31-15-9.4-1

Name change
A woman who desires the restoration of her maiden or former name must set out the name she desires to be restored to in the petition for dissolution. AIC 31-15-2-8

Inside Indiana Divorce Law Summary