Indiana Divorce Law
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Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in Indiana
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months and the county for three months in which the petition is filed for immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-6].
Reasons for Divorce in Indiana
There are mainly two reasons of divorce in Indiana that is fault and general. In order to file for divorce in Indiana, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.
No-fault reasons for divorce in Indiana include:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-3].
General reasons for divorce in Indiana include:
- Impotence at the time of marriage;
- Conviction of a felony; and
- Incurable mental illness for two years. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 2-3].
Custody of the Children in Indiana
Joint or sole custody is granted based on the best interests of the child, and based upon the following factors:
- The age and sex of the child;
- The preference of the child;
- The wishes of the parents;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved; and
- The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members.
Joint custody may be awarded if it is in the best interest of the child and based upon the following factors:
- The physical proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of where the child will reside;
- The fitness and suitability of the parents;
- The nature of the physical and emotional environment in the home of each of the persons awarded joint custody;
- The willingness and ability of the persons awarded joint custody to communicate and cooperate in advancing the child’s welfare;
- The wishes of the child; and
- Whether the child has established a close and beneficial relationship with both of the persons awarded joint custody. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 17, Chapters 2-8, 2-8.5, and 2-15].
Property Distribution in Indiana
Indiana is an “equitable distribution” state. The court will divide all of the spouses’ property in a just manner, whether jointly or separately owned and whether acquired before or after the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. There is a presumption that an equal division is just and reasonable.
Marital fault is not a factor. The following factors are considered:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, regardless of whether the contribution was income-producing;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence to the spouse having custody of the children;
- The actual earnings and the present and potential earning capability of each spouse;
- The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse prior to marriage or through gift or inheritance;
- The conduct of the spouses during the marriage as it relates to the disposition of their property; and
- The tax consequences of any property division.
If there is insufficient marital property, the court may award money to either spouse as reimbursement for the financial contribution by one spouse toward the higher education of the other. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 7].
Indiana Spousal Support Guidelines
Maintenance will be awarded to a spouse who:
- Is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to support himself or herself or
- Lacks sufficient property to provide support for himself or herself and any incapacitated child and must forgo employment to care for the physically or mentally incapacitated child.
Marital fault is not a factor. In addition, rehabilitative maintenance may be granted to a spouse for up to three years, based on the following factors:
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment;
- The educational level of each spouse at the time of the marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
- Whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or childcare responsibilities, or both; and
- The earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence or absence from the job market. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 7].
Indiana Child Support Guidelines
Either parent may be ordered to pay reasonable child support, without regard to marital fault, based on the following factors:
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; and
- The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent.
Support may be ordered to include medical, hospital, dental, and educational support. Support payments may be required to be paid through the clerk of the court. Specific Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines are contained in the Indiana Supreme Court Child Support Rules. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapter 6].
Upon the request of either spouse or if the court believes that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, the dissolution of marriage proceedings may be delayed for up to 45 days and the spouses may be ordered to seek counseling. [Annotated Indiana Code; Title 31, Article 15, Chapters 2-10 and 9.4-1].