Indiana divorce laws

Divorce is a complicated legal process that is often time-consuming and emotionally challenging. For those considering a marriage termination, it is crucial to know the specifics of Indiana divorce laws to deal with the dissolution of marriage with less stress. This article provides an overview of the legislation covering common-law marriage in Indiana, relevant statutes, and essential steps to divorce in Indiana.

Indiana’s divorce laws focus on major divorce issues such as:

  • asset and debt division
  • child custody, visitation, and support
  • alimony

Knowledge is power in divorce matters. Familiarizing yourself with divorce laws in Indiana safeguards your rights, enables informed choices, and allows you to cope with marriage termination more efficiently.

Indiana Divorce Requirements

The key Indiana divorce requirements to initiate a marriage termination process are as follows:

    • at least one of the spouses should reside in the state for no less than half a year before starting the divorce. This way, the state has jurisdiction over the case and can legally grant the dissolution of marriage.

    • It is necessary to specify the ground for the disillusionment of marriage. Indiana divorce rules make it possible for spouses to choose both fault and no-fault grounds. There is no need to accuse the other party of any fault or misconduct that led to the marriage breakdown.

When it comes to the divorce process, there are several conditions in Indiana divorce laws that spouses should follow:

    • Spouses should prepare case-specific documents, including the divorce petition, and file them in the county of residence of either spouse.

    • The filing party, a petitioner, must submit dissolution of marriage forms to the county’s clerk office and pay the applicable filing fees.

    • After that, a petitioner should serve the other spouse with divorce documents, notifying them that the divorce process has started. They should hire a process server or ask a person older than 18 to deliver the papers.

    • A respondent has then to file the answer to the petition or counterclaim.

    • After a 60-day period, the court will appoint a hearing, where they will check the divorce papers and sign a final decree. During this waiting period, spouses can work on issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, property division, etc. If they cannot agree on their own, they can turn to mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve conflicts and negotiate outside of court.

In an uncontested dissolution of marriage in Indiana, spouses may not be required to attend a final hearing if they are in full agreement and file a written waiver and the statement that there are no contentious issues between them.

In an uncontested dissolution of marriage in Indiana, spouses may not be required to attend a final hearing if they are in full agreement and file a written waiver and the statement that there are no contentious issues between them.

What are the Divorce Laws in Indiana

Divorce laws in Indiana are specified in Indiana Code, Title 31 – Family Law and Juvenile Law, Article 15 – Dissolution of Marriage. Different sections of this Code govern the dissolution of marriage and address various aspects of the divorce process. The key elements of Indiana divorce laws are as follows:

Grounds for Divorce. Under Indiana law, IC 31-15-2-3, official reasons to start a divorce process are no fault – irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and fault-based – felony conviction, impotency at the time of marriage, or incurable insanity lasting two years or longer.

Procedures. As per IC 31-15-2-6 – 31-15-2-16: either party can initiate the divorce process if they meet the residency requirements, as specified below. A petitioner is responsible for serving the other spouse, who should then file the answer. If the divorce is uncontested, it can be finalized after a waiting period is over. The contested case will also be heard after this waiting period, and until it is over, spouses may try to reach an agreement outside the court to avoid lengthy litigation. The judge will then either incorporate a spouse’s decisions into a decree or decide on the case if spouses cannot agree.

Main Issues Addressed in the Divorce Decree. During the disillusionment of marriage, the court addresses the following issues:

  • Child Custody and Visitation are decided based on the child’s best interests, considering relationships with parents, the child’s wishes, etc. Non-custodial parents receive reasonable visitation rights.
  • Child Support may be ordered from either parent. It is determined based on the spouse’s financial resources and abilities, level of income, and child’s needs.
  • Spousal Maintenance may be awarded temporarily or permanently under specific conditions. Factors influencing the judge’s decision include the requesting spouse’s education, earning capacity, ability to work, etc.
  • Property Division is based on the equitable division of marital assets. Marital property refers to assets and debts acquired during the marriage, pensions, etc.

Divorce Laws in Indiana for Infidelity

When it comes to divorce laws in Indiana for infidelity, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Though there is no specific law on infidelity, let’s explore how the court may handle adultery within the context of the dissolution of marriage. Typically, it may become evidence in contested divorces when deciding on important divorce matters.

Alimony. While adultery is not a legal ground for granting a divorce, a judge can consider it when making decisions about alimony based on IC 31-15-7-2.

Property Division. In some cases, if infidelity significantly impacted the financial situation of the family, due to buying expensive presents, paying for vacations, etc. by a cheating spouse, it may be considered by court when making property division decisions.

Child Support. In Indiana, marital misconduct, including adultery, may not impact child support calculations. According to Indiana divorce laws, judges focus mostly on financial resources, the standard of living, and the child’s needs when determining child support (IC 31-16-6-1).

Child Custody. However, if the adultery jeopardizes the child’s safety or well-being, such as the involvement of an abusive third party, it may influence custody decisions (IC 31-17-2-8).


Indiana’s divorce laws regulate different aspects of dissolution of marriage (IC 31-15-2), such as property division (IC 31-15-7), child custody and visitation (IC 31-17-2), child support (Indiana Code IC), alimony/spousal maintenance (IC 31-15-7), no-fault divorce grounds (IC 31-15-2), etc.

The state allows divorces on fault grounds (felony conviction, impotence, or incurable insanity for two years) and the no-fault ground of an irretrievable marriage breakdown

Property division in Indiana generally involves an equitable split of marital assets, with factors such as spousal contribution to the marriage, child custody, earnings, property acquisition, etc., influencing the court’s decision of what is considered a fair division.

In Indiana, you can file for dissolution of marriage without being physically separated from your spouse. However, before the court will issue the divorce, you must live apart from the other party for at least 60 days.

An annulment in Indiana can be granted based on specific grounds such as an underage or mentally incompetent spouse, marriage with a close relative, marriage registered when either spouse was already in a legal marriage, etc.