A Summary of Indiana Divorce Laws
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Grounds for Divorce Under Indiana Divorce Laws
Divorce Laws Specifically for the State of Indiana
Here are the grounds for divorce according to Indiana divorce laws:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;
- Conviction of a felony by either party;
- Impotence, which existed at the time of the marriage; and
- Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two years.
- Residency Requirements
Before filing for divorce, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of Indiana for at least six months and a resident of the county where the petition is filed for three months immediately prior to filing of the petition. Your divorce action should be filed in the county where you live and have lived for at least three months.
Name of Court and Title of Action/Parties
Indiana divorce laws require that, depending on the county where the action is filed, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage may be heard in the Superior, Circuit, or Domestic Relations Courts.
The action initiating the proceeding is called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the action that ends the marriage is the Final Dissolution of Marriage Decree. The spouse filing the action is referred to as the Petitioner and the other spouse is called the Respondent.
If you are not yet ready to file for divorce, you may be able to file for a legal separation for a period not to exceed one year. The court will only grant a legal separation if 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.
The waiting period between when you file for divorce and when you actually get one is at least sixty days.
Generally, the spouse whom makes more money may be ordered to pay alimony.
If your spouse is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that she is unable to support herself, the court may order you to pay alimony for a period of time until she is once again able to support herself.
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.
The court will consider the following factors in determining the amount and term of an award of alimony:
- The educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action for dissolution is commenced;
- Whether an interruption of education, training, or employment of a spouse occurred because of homemaking or childcare responsibilities;
- The earning capacity of each spouse; and
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
Alimony payments are to be made for no longer than three years.
Distribution of Property
The court will divide all property, whether jointly or separately owned, as it deems reasonable and just. A presumption exists that the property should be divided equally between the parties, although this presumption may be rebutted after consideration of the following factors:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property;
- The extent to which the property was acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift;
- The economic circumstances of the parties;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage as it relates to the disposition or dissipation of their property; and
- 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.
When children are involved, the whole matter is much more complicated. In the matter of custody, the court will decide what is best for the child by considering all relevant factors including the following:
- The age and sex of the child.
- The wishes of the child’s parent or parents.
- 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.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with: the child’s parent or parents; the child’s sibling; and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests.
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- Evidence of a pattern of domestic violence by either parent.
- Evidence that a de facto custodian has cared for the child.
The court may interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s wishes as to his or her custodial arrangements.
Indiana divorce law states that the court may order either or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for the support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct. The court will consider all relevant factors, including:
- The financial resources of the custodial parent;
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- The physical or mental condition of the child and the child’s educational needs;
- 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.
The court may order you to seek counseling if it finds that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, or if there is a minor child of the marriage.
A woman may restore her name to her maiden or former name upon request.
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