The Requirements for a Divorce in Indiana

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Indiana laws make specific requirements about divorce in the state. These laws govern everything from when a divorce can be filed to what the court must consider when making child custody orders. Always talk to an attorney experienced with Indiana divorce laws and procedures if you need legal advice about an Indiana divorce.


Indiana Code section 31-15-2-6 states that only couples that meet the state's residency requirements can file for divorce in Indiana. Any resident of the state, or a member of the United States military stationed within the state, who has lived in Indiana for at least six months can file for divorce. Also, the petition must be filed in the county where either spouse resides, or where the spouse who is a member of the military has been stationed for at least three months.


Indiana Code section 31-15-2-3 states that divorces can only be granted if the court finds one of four grounds are met. The four grounds are: the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown, either spouse has been convicted of a felony, either spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage, and either spouse has been incurably insane for the past two years. The first basis, irretrievable breakdown, is commonly referred to as the "no fault" grounds for divorce, as neither spouse must allege or prove the other is at fault for the divorce.


Indiana allows courts to award alimony, known as maintenance, in any divorce or legal separation agreement, according to Indiana Code section 31-15-7-1. The court can award alimony in any amount or for any duration it considers appropriate but only after considering specific factors. These include the educational level of each spouse, their earning capacities and the time and expenses necessary to enable a spouse to earn an education or training enough to enable self-sufficiency.

Child Custody

Indiana courts must address issues of child custody in any marriage or legal separation where children are a part of the marriage. Indiana Code section 31-17-2-8 requires the court to make all custody decisions in light of what is in the child's best interests. The court grants no presumption or favoritism towards either parent, and it must consider factors such as the child's age, the child's desire's, the parents' desires, the physical and mental health of the child, and the relationship between the parents and the child and any history of domestic violence or abuse.