Indiana's Divorce Process: What to Expect

Indiana divorce process can be complicated and confusing, especially if you do not have legal knowledge. Before filing for divorce, it is important to research basic divorce rules, distinguish between contested and uncontested cases, and check how to prepare the divorce paperwork properly. To help you get acquainted with the process of divorce in Indiana and guide you through the basic divorce steps, we have collected some important information on the divorce procedure, the forms required, and the types of marriage dissolution. In the following sections, you will find a detailed plan on how to start a divorce process in Indiana and what the state-specific procedure for divorce is.

How to Begin a Divorce Process in Indiana?

The process of divorce in Indiana can be initiated by one of the spouses. The party filing for divorce is a petitioner, and the other spouse is a respondent. How to begin the divorce process in Indiana will depend on the grounds and circumstances of your case.
  • If it is a no-fault marriage dissolution, then the reason to indicate in the petition is the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relations. In this case, you agree that neither party is to blame for the divorce.
  • In fault divorces, there are three legal grounds to initiate marriage termination: felony conviction, incurable insanity, or impotence. It is necessary to be able to prove these reasons in court with reliable evidence.
The presence of disputes between spouses regarding alimony, custody of children, and assets division will also affect the process of divorce. In uncontested divorces, a couple agrees on all the listed issues before the start of the dissolution procedure. If it is a contested case, you will have to seek a compromise out of court or during a trial or leave disagreements for a judge to resolve. Here are some basic rules to remember when initiating the divorce process in Indiana:
  1. To start the divorce process, you must meet the state residency requirements, meaning either spouse should live in Indiana and the county where you will file for at least 6 months and 3 months, respectively.
  2. Use Indiana Code, Title 31, Article 15 as a guide at all stages of the divorce proceedings.
  3. Search for the Circuit Court where you will file for divorce.
  4. Make sure to collect personal and financial information about you and your spouse. In the divorce documents, you will need to indicate, among other details, the date and place of marriage, place of residence of both parties, grounds for divorce, names and birth dates of minor children, if any, etc. Preparing this information in advance will reduce the time needed to fill out forms.
  5. Determine which forms are required to start the divorce process in Indiana; these can be a Petition, Domestic Relations Appearance Form, a Motion for Final Hearing, Domestic Relations Summons, and others. If you have minor children, find and prepare additional forms on child custody, support, visitation, etc.
  6. Make copies of the forms. Contact the county clerk to know exactly how many copies of each document will be needed.
  7. Remember that after the petition is filed and the Indiana divorce process begins, there is a 60-day waiting period before a hearing can be scheduled (Ind. Code § 31-15-2-13).
Below, you can check the information on the procedure for divorce in detail.

Step-by-Step Divorce Process in Indiana

To follow a step-by-step divorce process in Indiana, you should:
  1. Make sure you meet the state residency requirements so that state courts have jurisdiction over your case.
  2. Prepare divorce forms.
You can get them from the court clerk’s office or search online and fill them out on your own; otherwise, you can hire a lawyer or contact an online divorce service that will provide you with the case-specific and court-approved documents ready to file. Print divorce papers only on white paper. Check in advance which forms to sign and notarize.
  1. File the documents with the court clerk’s office.
The divorce process in Indiana officially begins when you file a petition and other necessary documents with the court. The court clerk will then assign your case a number. The 60-day waiting period starts from the moment of filing. When submitting the documents, pay a fee of around $180, depending on the county and whether there are children involved in your divorce case.
  1. Serve the spouse.
The next step of Indiana divorce process is delivering papers to your spouse. You should use certified mail or hire a sheriff or a process server who will give documents to the other party. In either case, make sure you have a document confirming that the respondent got the paperwork; it should be submitted to the court to show that the other party is properly served and notified of the divorce process.
  1. Receive an answer or a counterclaim.
If there are no disputes between you and your spouse, a respondent in the Answer will indicate their consent to the divorce terms. A counterclaim should be expected when a party does not agree to a marriage dissolution or terms regarding alimony, division of property, assets, and child custody.
  1. Try to reach an agreement with the other party if you have not done it before.
If the process of divorce in Indiana is contested, try to agree with the other spouse and complete a settlement agreement to make the case uncontested. If you cannot do it on your own or with a lawyer’s help, consider mediation – the assistance of a neutral mediator who can help spouses negotiate, find the best solution for their disputes, and avoid lengthy litigation.
  1. Complete a financial disclosure.
Be ready to share with your spouse information on your finances, income statements, details on property and debts owned, etc.
  1. Attend the court hearing.
It can be scheduled after the 60-day waiting period expires by contacting the court clerk’s office. Inform your spouse when and where it will take place.
  1. Get a divorce decree.
During the hearing, a judge will review your paperwork, ask if your decision to divorce is final, and issue a divorce decree if everything is in order. If a judge finds reconciliation possible, they can order a couple to attend counseling, and the final hearing date will be moved.

Mutual Divorce Process in Indiana

Some divorce processes in Indiana require a special procedure. This applies to cases where spouses file for a no-fault divorce and do not have any disagreements regarding divorce-related issues. The mutual divorce process in Indiana presupposes a simplified procedure when there is no need to serve the other party, and a hearing may not be required.

You can start such a simplified process of divorce in Indiana if:

  1. Your spouse will sign and notarize a Verified Waiver of Service of Process and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Petition and Summons.
  1. You and your spouse will sign a Waiver of Final Hearing and a Statement that you do not have any contentious issues to resolve or a Marital Settlement Agreement (Ind. Code §31-15-2-13).

All listed forms must be submitted to the court clerk’s office with the divorce petition. If you comply with the simplified divorce requirements stipulated by the law, the case may be finalized without a hearing. However, the duration of the Indiana divorce process will not change, and you will need to wait at least 60 days before you can get a final decision on marriage dissolution.


The divorce process in Indiana is a legal procedure through which spouses can officially end their marriage. After a final divorce decree is issued, parties to the case are legally divorced and may start a new marital relationship.

To initiate a divorce, make sure you meet the residency requirements. Next, prepare and file divorce papers with the court. The next steps are serving the spouse, waiting till the 60-day waiting period is over, and setting and attending a final hearing.