Everything You Need to Know before Getting Divorced in Indiana
- Prerequisites for divorce in Indiana
- Divorce forms and fees
- Basic steps to get a divorce
- Property division
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support (alimony)
Getting a divorce can be a highly emotional and legally complex process. Here's everything you need to know so you can feel better about moving forward with your divorce (and post-divorce life) in Indiana.
Indiana divorce prerequisites
Do you meet the residency requirement?
To file for divorce in Indiana, you or your spouse must have lived in Indiana for at least six months. Additionally, one of you must have lived in the county you are filing in for at least three months before filing.
Do you have a reason for divorce (grounds or fault)?
Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning spouses do not have to show wrongdoing by the other spouse or prove other divorce-granting issues. They can simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
However, fault-based divorce is another option in Indiana. The following fault-based grounds for divorce are recognized by the state:
- A felony conviction
- Impotence (unable to be sexually intimate)
- Incurable insanity lasting two years or more.
- Substance abuse
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
Can financial disclosures be waived?
Financial disclosures cannot be waived. Both spouses are required to provide a complete and accurate accounting of their respective financial situations to one another during the divorce process. This typically involves producing documentation relating to income, assets, and debts.
Financial disclosures are important for many reasons. They establish a baseline financial position for each person and allow a court to make fair and equitable decisions regarding property division, spousal maintenance, and child support. Without accurate financial disclosures, one party may hide assets or income, which could lead to an unfair outcome in the marital settlement agreement.
Are you required to take a parenting class?
Parenting classes are not required as part of the Indiana divorce process. However, it may sometimes be up to the court or judge’s discretion. The court may order parenting classes for specific parents if there are concerns like a history of abuse or other indicators suggesting classes would be helpful.
Indiana divorce forms and fees
The filing fee for divorce in Indiana ranges from $129 to $152, depending on the county in which you file. If you are unable to pay this fee, you can submit a filing fee waiver. The court will review your financial situation and decide whether to waive the fee due to financial hardship.
Based on the type of divorce you are filing, different forms are required. Click on the links below to see the packets of forms.
- Divorce With Children When Spouses Agree
- Divorce With Children When Spouses Do Not Agree
- Divorce Without Children and When Spouses Agree
- Divorce Without Children When Spouses Do Not Agree
In general, the main forms are:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: This form is a formal request to the court for a divorce.
- Summons: This form is used to notify the other party that divorce papers have been filed and to instruct them on how to respond.
- Financial Affidavit: This form is used to provide a complete and accurate accounting of the party's financial situation.
- Settlement Agreement and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage: This form is used to outline the terms of the divorce settlement, including property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody and support, if applicable.
What are the basic divorce steps in Indiana?
If you are proceeding with an uncontested divorce, the process will generally breakdown to:
- File the Petition and Summons (e-file is recommended).
- Upon receiving your filed Petition, you will then serve your spouse via a professional process server, sheriff’s deputy, or via certified mail. Your spouse can also waive this requirement by notarizing and then filing a Waiver of Service.
- Both spouses complete financial disclosures.
- If there are children, you will also need to create a parenting plan and complete the Child Support Worksheet.
- Spouses reach an agreement on all terms of their divorce, including property and debt division, custody, support payments, etc. (this is called a Martial Settlement Agreement).
- If spouses are unable to reach an agreement and they request a Provisional Hearing in the Petition, there will also be a hearing. If a hearing was requested, but then you reach an agreement, you can submit the hearing waiver form to avoid having to go to court.
- Sixty days after the Petition is filed, the final forms and Marital Settlement Agreement can be filed. Once this is done, all you have to do is wait for the court to finalize your Judgment.
Property division overview
Indiana is an “equitable distribution” or “marital property” state as opposed to a “community property” state. This means that the marital property is divided in an equitable manner. So if your name appears on a property title, you are considered its owner; however, your spouse will have a legal right to claim an equal portion of that property when divorcing.
It’s important to note that this marital property approach recognizes that one spouse may be entitled to more or less than 50 percent of the total assets to be split.
When dividing marital property, the court considers factors like (but not limited to):
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The value of household management, including childcare
- The income level of the parties, as well as their future earning potential
- The age and health of the parties
To learn more, go here.
In Indiana, parental custody of a child is determined based on the best interests of the child. The courts consider several factors when making decisions about child custody and visitation arrangements:
- The best interest of the child, which is based on the child’s age, physical and mental health, and special needs.
- The parent's ability to provide for the child’s specific needs, including the parents’ stability, mental and physical health, and any history of abuse or neglect.
- The quality of relationships between the parents and child.
- Depending on their age and possibly other factors, who the child prefers to live with.
Indiana also has Parenting Time Guidelines that propose minimum amounts of time each parent should have with the child to establish “meaningful contact” with the child.
Child support in Indiana
Child support is money paid from one parent to the other to help cover the cost of raising a child. Child support is meant to provide for the basic needs of the child. This includes housing, food, clothing, medical care, and education.
Child support calculations are primarily based on the incomes of the parents, the needs of the children, the amount of time each parent has the children, and the custody arrangement.
The Indiana court website provides a Child Support Worksheet along with the Child Support Calculator, which can be used to get an estimate of the support amount. Ultimately, though, the court will be the one to determine and approve the amount.
The state’s Parenting Time Guidelines and the Parenting Time Calendar are additional tools to help understand Indiana’s recommendations and options for parenting time and to create a parenting calendar.
What to know about spousal support
Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is a payment made from one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. Its purpose is to provide financial support to the receiving spouse, who may have become financially dependent on the other spouse for various reasons.
In Indiana, spousal support can be awarded during the divorce proceedings or at the final judgment. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance are determined by the court. It is based on a variety of factors, such as:
- Length of marriage
- Income and earning capacity
- Education and training that can secure or improve earning capacity
- Current assets
- Standard of living while married – which is an evaluation of how expenses were covered and what types of expenses were covered during the marriage
- Health and age of the spouses
- Child custody and support terms
- Contributions to the marriage – this takes into account financial and caretaking contributions
Here is a spousal support estimator provided by the court to give you an idea of what to expect to pay or expect to receive.
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FAQ about Indiana divorce
How long will the divorce process take?
After filing the Petition, spouses must wait 60 days before filing their Marital Settlement Agreement and final forms. From there, the processing time will depend upon how busy your county court is. Some courts can return a finalized Judgment within a week, while others may take a few months.
Can I e-file my divorce papers in Indiana?
Yes, the court actually prefers e-filing. This option is also beneficial because you do not have to worry about forms being lost in the mail and your uploads will be timestamped. Here is a list of approved e-file service providers, and here is a comparison chart of their services.
You can also file your forms in person. Some courts also allow mail filings, but please contact your county court to confirm this method is accepted.