What are the residency requirements for divorce in Indiana?
To file for divorce in Indiana, you or your spouse must have been:
- a resident of Indiana or stationed at a United States military installation in Indiana for at least 6 months immediately before filing for the divorce;* and
- a resident of the county or stationed within the county for at least 3 months immediately before filing for the divorce.**
* Indiana Code § 31-15-2-6(a)
** Indiana Code § 31-15-2-6(b)
What are the grounds for divorce in Indiana?
Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce. The judge can grant you a divorce in Indiana if:
- there was an irretrievable (unfixable) breakdown of your marriage;
- your spouse was convicted of a felony during your marriage;
- your spouse was impotent at the time you got married; or
- your spouse was incurably insane for a period of at least two years.*
* Indiana Code § 31-15-2-3
Can I get alimony?
Alimony (or maintenance, as it is also called) is financial support paid by one spouse to another. A judge may award maintenance for a period of time that the judge believes is appropriate if s/he finds that:
- you are physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that you are unable support yourself and financial support is necessary during the period of incapacity; or
- you lack the resources to meet your basic and reasonable needs and,
- you have custody over a child whose physical or mental incapacity prevents you from working.*
The judge will decide if you need alimony, how much you will receive, and for how long you will receive it.*
If you don’t meet either of the circumstances described above, a judge can still choose to award you “rehabilitative maintenance,” which can only last for a period of up to three years from the date of your final divorce decree. When deciding whether or not to order rehabilitative maintenance, a will consider the following factors:
- education level of each spouse at the time you were married and at the time the divorce case begins;
- whether you had to stop your education, training, or work in order to care for your child and/or your home during the marriage;
- the earning capacity of each spouse, including each spouse’s educational background, work experience, employment, skills, training, and time in and out of the job market; and
- the amount of time and money that would be necessary for you to go back to school or to get training in order to find appropriate work.**
* Indiana Code § 31-15-7-2(1),(2)
** Indiana Code § 31-15-7-2-(3)
What are the basic steps to get a divorce?
While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps that a person may have to follow to obtain a divorce:
- First, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirements of the state you want to file in.
- Second, you must have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage.
- Third, you must file the appropriate divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse - for the exact rules for serving the papers, contact your local courthouse or an attorney.
- Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, then s/he will have the opportunity to file papers telling her/his side. In his/her response, the other party may express his/her opinion challenging the divorce, asking that it be granted under different grounds or letting the judge know that s/he agrees to the divorce. If your spouse contests the divorce, then you may have a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. Also, if a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway. (Speak to a lawyer in your state about how long you have to wait to see if your spouse answers before you can continue with the divorce.)
- Fifth, if there are property, assets, a pension, debts, or anything else that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, then these issues may have to be dealt with during the divorce or else you may lose your chance to deal with these issues. The issues may be worked out during settlement negotiations and incorporated into the divorce decree or in a series of court hearings during the divorce. Custody and child support may also be decided as part of your divorce.
Where do I find the court forms that I need?
The Indiana Courts Self-Service Legal Center provides court forms for filing for divorce in Indiana.
Indiana Legal Services has the following divorce-related links:
- general information about divorce in Indiana including information on residency requirements, grounds, and costs;
- information on filing for divorce on one's own;
- frequently asked questions, including information on what happens if your spouse doesn't agree with the divorce and alimony; and
- much more information, including links to pages about legal separation and dividing debts here.
(Note: WomensLaw.org is not related to this organization and cannot vouch for the accuracy of its site.)