Grounds for Divorce in Indiana

A divorce is a legal process that officially ends a marriage. Understanding the grounds for divorce in Indiana is crucial for those navigating this complex and emotionally challenging period of life. In the state, there are several main reasons for divorce. They serve as the legal basis for ending a marriage and are specified in the divorce petition.

If you are going to start the divorce process, it is reasonable to learn the most common reasons for divorce and the main grounds for the dissolution of marriage recognized by state laws. In this article, let’s focus on the grounds for divorce in Indiana in detail.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Indiana

Indiana law acknowledges four main grounds for divorce, ensuring couples have several avenues to pursue when ending their marriage. The grounds are specified in the Indiana 2020 Code, Title 31 - Family Law and Juvenile Law, Article 15 on Dissolution on Marriage, Chapter 2, and include:

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage

This is among the most commonly used legal grounds for divorce in Indiana. It means the marital relationship has experienced an irreparable breakdown, with no possibility of reconciliation between spouses. No proof of fault or wrongdoing is required to establish this ground.

Felony conviction

If one spouse has committed a crime and got a jail term during the marriage, the other spouse can apply for a dissolution of marriage.

Mental incapacity

If one spouse has been mentally ill for at least two years and is unlikely to recover, it can serve as a legal reason for divorce. The evidence of mental illness should be provided to the court, demonstrating the inability of a spouse to participate in the marriage.


If one spouse is impotent and was so when a couple got married, the other spouse has the right to file for divorce based on this legal ground.

Mixed divorce state

Indiana is a mixed divorce state, which recognizes fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. This fact gives couples more flexibility since they can choose the appropriate grounds for the dissolution of marriage that best fit their situation.

The only no-fault ground is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which is the most common reason for divorce in the state. This is because the filing spouse does not need to prove the other party’s wrongdoing that led to the marriage breakup. No-fault divorces, if they are uncontested, are usually finalized much faster than contested fault-based cases.

If one spouse is at fault for the divorce, the petitioner can initiate the divorce process based on the fault grounds. However, proving the other party’s guilt will require collecting sufficient evidence and presenting it to the court.

Understanding the distinction between fault-based and no-fault grounds in a mixed divorce state is essential when navigating the dissolution of a marriage.

No-Fault Divorce in Indiana


Indiana is a no-fault state for divorce, which presupposes that the breakdown of marital relationships between spouses is a sufficient reason to end a marriage.

The court recognizes that marriages can deteriorate due to various factors, and proving the other spouse’s fault is not necessary for the legal process of dissolution. Instead, couples can focus on the practical aspects of ending their marriage, such as division of assets, child custody, and support arrangements.

No-fault divorce in Indiana is more streamlined and amicable than contested fault-based divorces. It usually allows spouses to avoid lengthy and contentious litigation, as no allegations of fault or misconduct must be proven in court.

One of the primary advantages of Indiana no-fault divorce is the reduced emotional strain and financial burden, given the case is uncontested. A couple can work together to reach an agreement on important divorce-related matters, prioritize the best interests of kids, and preserve good co-parenting relationships.

If the case is uncontested, spouses can save much money on a lawyer’s assistance since they can represent themselves in court pro se. Besides, they can take advantage of online divorce services, which provide a complete set of divorce paperwork at a reasonable cost, saving spouses from the stress of dealing with legal papers, which is usually a time-consuming process.

Reaching a mutually beneficial agreement is a smart option that will help make the divorce process fast, efficient, and stress-free.

Common reasons for divorce on a no-fault basis can include:

    • irreconcilable differences,

    • communication breakdown,

    • lack of compatibility,

    • the realization that the marriage is no longer fulfilling for one or both spouses.

Religious reasons for divorce

Religious reasons for divorce encompass grounds rooted in religious beliefs and doctrines. Various religions have different perspectives on marriage termination and recognize specific grounds for ending a marital relationship.

Individuals considering marriage termination based on religious reasons for divorce should consult their religious leaders or seek guidance in the respective sacral texts to understand what grounds for divorce are acceptable in their faith.

Reasons for divorce in the Bible

The Bible provides insights into reasons for divorce within Christian teachings, although interpretations may vary among different denominations. While divorce is generally viewed as a last resort option and is discouraged, there are three biblical reasons for divorce:

  1. Adultery. It refers to the act of one spouse engaging in a sexual affair outside of the marriage. It is considered a violation of marital commitment and trust. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus states that sexual immorality, including adultery, is a permissible ground for divorce (Matthew 5:32). Adultery is a breach of the marital covenant, undermining the foundation of trust and fidelity, being one of the reasons for divorce in the Bible.
  2. Abandonment by an unbelieving spouse. Apostle Paul addresses situations where a believer is married to an unbeliever. He mentions that if the unbelieving spouse chooses to leave the marriage, the believing spouse is not bound in such cases (1 Corinthians 7:15). This reason for divorce in the Bible recognizes the difficulty of maintaining a harmonious marriage when one partner does not share the same faith.
  3. Sexual immorality. It is difficult to give a specific definition of this term since it is a broad concept that may mean various types of sexual misconduct, including adultery, fornication, etc. It refers to behaviors that violate the sanctity of the marital relationship.

The mentioned religious grounds do not correspond with fault-based reasons recognized by the state laws, such as impotence, felony conviction, and insanity.

However, spouses can officially file for divorce, stating the irretrievable marriage breakdown as a reason. The fact of a spouse’s misconduct, for example, adultery, can be used as evidence in court and can potentially impact the judge’s decisions concerning child custody, support, alimony, etc.

Catholic grounds for divorce

In Catholicism, divorce is generally not accepted. According to Catholic teachings, marital union is sacral and presupposes the indissolubility of marriage. However, the Church recognizes the possibility of civil divorce when there is a threat to either spouse’s health or even life. Therefore, to protect the rights and well-being of individuals, it allows spouses to end their marriage legally, with cases such as abuse or infidelity being the reasons for a divorce. However, the Catholic Church does not consider a civil divorce as an end of the sacramental marriage bond.

Individuals studying Catholic grounds for divorce are encouraged to explore avenues such as annulment, which is a declaration that the marriage was invalid from its inception. Annulment focuses on examining whether the marriage met the essential requirements for a valid sacramental union according to Catholic teachings.

Grounds for divorce in Judaism

Grounds for divorce in Judaism are addressed in the religious legal code known as the Halakhah. The grounds for divorce may differ for wives and husbands, including adultery, abuse, irreconcilable differences, etc.

The process of obtaining a divorce in Judaism involves a religious court known as a “Beit Din” and follows specific procedures outlined in the Halakhah. Also, it is recommended to consult with knowledgeable rabbis or religious authorities to understand the specific requirements, reasons for divorce, and procedures involved in obtaining a divorce according to Jewish law.

Frequently Asked Questions

The breakdown of the marital relationship or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is a top reason for divorce in Indiana.

Infidelity itself is not listed as an official ground for divorce. However, it can still be a factor that leads to the marriage breakdown.

A sexless marriage itself is not a legal ground for divorce. Still, it may be used as evidence when proving the fault-based ground of impotency.

A court may consider verbal abuse that causes emotional harm to a spouse as the aspect that led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, verbal abuse is not specified as an official ground for marriage termination.

Abandonment, where one spouse intentionally and without justification leaves the marital home for an extended period, can contribute to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and serve as evidence in contested cases.

Emotional abuse, characterized by manipulating, intimidating, or controlling behavior, can be a leading factor in the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage though it is not a separate legal ground.

Financial infidelity, involving one spouse hiding financial information or engaging in deceitful financial behavior, can contribute to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

While cheating itself is not listed as a legal ground for divorce in Indiana, it can result in irreparable damage to the marital relationship.

Falling out of love is not a specific ground for divorce in Indiana. However, the irretrievable marriage breakdown resulting from a lack of emotional connection may be a valid reason for divorce.

No, smoking alone is not considered grounds for divorce in Indiana. However, if smoking causes health issues or conflicts within the marriage, it may contribute to the breakdown of the relationship.

Alcoholism is not listed as an official legal ground for divorce in Indiana. But, if alcoholism significantly impacts the well-being of the spouse or the stability of the marriage, it may lead to an irretrievable breakdown.