DIVORCE LAWS OF INDIANA
Title 31 of the Indiana Code governs the Divorce Laws in the State of Indiana. As per the code the divorce is granted only on the grounds mentioned in the code.
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county for 3 months in which the petition is filed for immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE
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.
The dissolution of marriage may be filed with the Superior Court, Circuit Court, or Domestic Relations Court of Indiana.
Whenever a petition is filed, a copy of the petition, including a copy of a summons, shall be served upon the other party to the marriage in the same manner as service of summons in civil actions generally. The other party may file a responsive pleading or a counter petition.
Final hearing and dissolution decree
At the final hearing on a petition for dissolution of marriage the court shall consider evidence, including agreements and verified pleadings filed with the court. If the court finds that the material allegations of the petition are true, the court:
- shall enter a dissolution decree as provided in section 16 of this chapter; or
- if the court finds that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, may continue the matter and order the parties to seek reconciliation through any available counseling.
- At any time forty-five (45) days after the date of a -continuance:
- either party may move for the dissolution of the marriage; and
- the court may enter a dissolution decree
If no motion for the dissolution is filed, the matter shall be, automatically and without further action by the court, dismissed after the expiration of ninety (90) days from the date of continuance.
The court may enter a summary dissolution decree without holding a court hearing in all cases in which the following requirements have been met:
- 60 days have elapsed since the filing of a petition for dissolution;
- the petition was verified and signed by both spouses;
- the petition contained a written waiver of a final hearing; and
- the petition contained either:
- a statement that there are no contested issues or
that the spouses have made a written agreement in settlement of any contested issues. If there are some remaining contested issues, the court may hold a final hearing on those remaining contested issues. In addition, marital settlement agreements are specifically authorized in Indiana.
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county for 3 months immediately prior to filing for legal separation. A legal separation may be granted on the grounds that it is currently intolerable for the spouses to live together, but that the marriage should be maintained.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING
Upon the request of either spouse or if the court believes that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, the dissolution of marriage proceedings may be delayed for up to 45 days and the spouses may be ordered to seek counseling.
Indiana is an "equitable distribution" state. The court will divide all of the spouses' property in a just manner, whether jointly or separately owned and whether acquired before or after the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. There is a presumption that an equal division is just and reasonable. Marital fault is not a factor.
The following factors are considered
- the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, regardless of whether the contribution was income-producing;
- the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence to the spouse having custody of the children
- the actual earnings and the present and potential earning capability of each spouse;
- the extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse prior to marriage or through gift or inheritance;
- the conduct of the spouses during the marriage as it relates to the disposition of their property; and
the tax consequences of any property division. If there is insufficient marital property, the court may award money to either spouse as reimbursement for the financial contribution by one spouse toward the higher education of the other.
Maintenance will be awarded to a spouse who:
- is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to support himself or herself or
lacks sufficient property to provide support for himself or herself and any incapacitated child and must forgo employment to care for the physically or mentally incapacitated child. Marital fault is not a factor.
In addition, rehabilitative maintenance may be granted to a spouse for up to 3 years, based on the following factors:
- the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment;
- the educational level of each spouse at the time of the 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 childcare responsibilities, or both; and
the earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence or absence from the job market.
Joint or sole custody is granted based on the best interests of the child, and based upon the following factors:
- the age and sex of the child;
- the preference of the child;
- the wishes of the parents;
- the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; and
the relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members.
Joint custody may be awarded if it is in the best interest of the child and based upon the following factors:
- the physical proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of where the child will reside;
- the fitness and suitability of the parents;
the nature of the physical and emotional environment in the home of each of the persons awarded joint custody;
the willingness and ability of the persons awarded joint custody to communicate and cooperate in advancing the child's welfare;
the wishes of the child; and
whether the child has established a close and beneficial relationship with both of the persons awarded joint custody.
Either parent may be ordered to pay reasonable child support, without regard to marital fault, based on the following factors:
- the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; and
the financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the non-custodial and the custodial parent.
Support may be ordered to include medical, hospital, dental, and educational support. Support payments may be required to be paid through the clerk of the court. Specific Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines are contained in the Indiana Supreme Court Child Support Rules.