The below questions are some of the most common we receive from clients. They only pertain to divorces filed under Indiana law. We will post an article with Divorce FAQs for a divorce filed in Michigan at a later time.
What are the grounds for divorce in Indiana?
Although Indiana is a “no-fault” divorce state, one of the items the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must declare is the appropriate grounds upon which the dissolution is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The dissolution of marriage grounds are as follows:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
- Reasons for divorce due to the Fault of a particular party:
- The felony conviction of either of the parties;
- Impotence; or
- Incurable insanity for a period of at least two years.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Indiana?
Typically, it takes at least 60 days before the court can finalize a divorce in Indiana. Once the divorce is filed, the court can issue temporary orders, but the actual divorce cannot be finalized until 60 days have passed from the date that the divorce was filed.
What is a divorce going to cost me? Can I afford it?
Unfortunately, how much a divorce costs is based on too many variables to provide an estimate of anticipated costs. The costs depend on the actions of the parties, their needs and wants, and how they choose to seek those goals.
You are the best person to evaluate your ability to afford the process, and this analysis should be done on a continuing basis.
Do I really need to hire an attorney?
Yes. By its very nature, your dissolution involves the most important things in your life. It will impact your assets, future income, tax implications, and in cases involving minor children, your ability to maintain your presence in your child’s life.
Therefore, it is imperative that you have someone who understands the legal process and can represent your interests vigorously in order to protect your wellbeing.
Does Indiana grant divorces based on marital fault?
Yes, the grounds for which are the conviction of either party of a felony, impotence, or incurable insanity for a period of at least two years. However,
Indiana is a no-fault state, meaning the court will also grant the parties a divorce on the grounds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, i.e. neither party is at fault.
Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse?
The court will make an award of maintenance from one spouse to the other in three circumstances:
- If the court finds a spouse to be physically
Or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of that spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected;
- If the court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property 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; and
- If a spouse has had an interruption in their education, training, or employment as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, the court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for that spouse is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three years from the date of the final decree.
Can I change my name at the time of divorce?
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.
Can I get an annulment in Indiana?
An annulment may be granted upon a showing by a party of one of the following grounds:
- one spouse is under age or was mentally incompetent to consent;
- the marriage was obtained by fraud;
- one spouse is of unsound mind; or
- One spouse was married in another state with the intent to evade the marriage laws of Indiana.
When can I file for divorce in Indiana?
At the time of filing a petition for dissolution, at least one party must have been a resident of Indiana or stationed at a U.S. military installation within Indiana for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
When is my case going to be over?
Once you file your Petition for Dissolution, Indiana law implements a 60-day waiting period during which the parties’ divorce may not be granted. After expiration of the waiting period, the parties may proceed to a final hearing to resolve their dissolution. However, it could take longer than 60 days, depending on the issues of your case and the court’s schedule.
Do I have to go to court?
You do not necessarily have to go to court. There are many ways to resolve most parties’ issues without litigation, including mediation and settlement conferences. If you cannot resolve all of the issues in this way, you can usually settle most of them. The remaining issues would then be litigated in court.
If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?
If you cannot find your spouse and you have made reasonable efforts to do so, you can ask the court to notify your spouse of the divorce by putting a notice in the local newspaper. After this is done, you can finalize the divorce even if there is no proof that your spouse saw the notice.
At what point during the process can a spouse remarry or start dating?
A person may not remarry until a Decree of Divorce is issued. When and if you start dating is a personal decision, but consideration should be made to the best interests of your children.
What if my spouse does not want the divorce?
You can get a divorce even if your spouse does not want it. Once the court issues a Decree of Divorce, you are considered divorced. Your spouse’s consent is not necessary.
Do the other issues – child support, child custody, alimony, and property – have to be decided before the divorce is final?
Yes, these issues will all be resolved as part of the final Decree of Dissolution.
After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in Indiana?
You are not required to remain in the state while your dissolution is pending. If you have children in the state, you may be prevented from relocating during the pendency of your dissolution. If you do move, you will still be expected to return to Indiana to attend any mandatory hearings in court.
What if I am in the military and out of state?
If you are on active duty and are unable to return to Indiana for your court appearances, the Service members Civil Relief Act allows you to ask the court to delay proceedings while you are unavailable due to military service.
What forms do I need to file for a divorce in Indiana?
This depends on the issues relevant to each individual case, but your initial pleadings will generally include a Petition for Dissolution and Summons, to be followed by a Financial Declaration and a Child Support Obligation Worksheet if you have children.
How and where is a divorce complaint filed?
A divorce complaint (or Petition for Dissolution) is filed in the county of your residence (for at least three months) in the state in which you have live for at least six months. The petition may be hand-filed in the clerk’s office of the county in which you are filing.
How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse?
Your spouse may be served by certified or registered mail, personal service by the sheriff, or private service. Once your petition is filed, you must wait for the expiration of the mandatory waiting period before your divorce may be granted. When you hire our firm, we handle the process of providing your spouse proper service under Indiana law.
How is a divorce granted? Will I have to go to court?
If the parties do not come to an agreement on all issues relevant to their divorce, the court will set the remaining matters for a final hearing, or trial. Should your case proceed to a final hearing, your presence there would be mandatory. The court would then hear evidence on those issues from both parties, issue a ruling on the issues, and grant the couple a divorce.
What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?
The outcome of each dissolution case is dependent on the many factors and issues involved in each individual case. An attorney familiar with family law and skilled in domestic litigation, as our attorneys are, will analyze each case and the strategy that should be employed to meet your desired goals on a case-by-case basis.
At any time can a parent change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission?
A parent may not change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission unless their right to consent has been removed by law. In the absence of these circumstances, the parent wishing to change the child’s name must petition the court and obtain consent from the other parent.
Can a couple become legally married by living together as man and wife under Indiana law (common law marriage)?
There is no common law marriage in Indiana.
Can I force my spouse to pay for my legal fees and the cost of hiring an attorney?
It is within the court’s discretion whether to require a party to pay for another’s attorney fees. However, the more contentious the opposing party acts, the more likely it is that a court will impose such a penalty upon your spouse.