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Indiana Divorce Laws

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Indiana Divorce Laws

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:

At the time of the filing of a petition for dissolution, at least one of the parties must have been:

  • A resident of Indiana; or stationed at a United States military installation within Indiana for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.

  • A resident of the county; or stationed at a United States military installation within the county; where the petition is filed for three months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.

[Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 2-6]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

Dissolution of marriage shall be decreed upon a finding by a court of one of the following grounds and no other ground:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

  • The conviction of either of the parties, subsequent to the marriage of a felony.

  • Impotence, existing at the time of the marriage.
  • Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two years.

[Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 2-3]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

Legal separation shall be decreed upon a finding by a court that conditions in or circumstances of the marriage make it currently intolerable for both parties to live together; and that the marriage should be maintained. Residency requirements are the same as for dissolution, and a legal separation may not be granted if a dissolution of marriage has been filed. [Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 3-3 through 3-6]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Indiana is an equitable distribution state. The court shall presume that an equal division of the marital property between the parties is just and reasonable. However, this presumption may be rebutted by a party who presents relevant evidence, including evidence concerning the following factors, that an equal division would not be just and reasonable:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the contribution was income producing.

  • The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse:

    1. Before the marriage.

    2. Through inheritance or gift.

  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence or the right to dwell in the family residence for such periods as the court considers just to the spouse having custody of any children.

  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property.

  • The earnings or earning ability of the parties as related to:

    1. A final division of property.

    2. A final determination of the property rights of the parties.

If the court finds there is little or no marital property, the court may award either spouse a money judgment not limited to the property existing at the time of final separation. However, this award may be made only for the financial contribution of one spouse toward tuition, books, and laboratory fees for the higher education of the other spouse. The court, in determining what is just and reasonable in dividing property under this chapter, shall consider the tax consequences of the property disposition with respect to the present and future economic circumstances of each party. [Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 7-5 through 7-7]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

The court may order maintenance in either a dissolution of marriage or a legal separation. If the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected, the court may find that maintenance for the spouse is necessary during the period of incapacity. If the court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for the spouse's needs; and the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment; the court may find that maintenance is necessary for the spouse in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate. The court will take the following factors into consideration when awarding maintenance:

  • The educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.

  • Whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities.

  • The earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market.

  • The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment.

A court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three (3) years from the date of the final decree. [Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 7-1 through 7-2]

NAME CHANGE:

A woman who desires the restoration of her maiden or previous married name must set out the name she desires to be restored to her in her petition for dissolution as part of the relief sought. The court shall grant the name change upon entering the decree of dissolution. [Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 15, Chapter 2-18]

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