Divorce in Indiana
As Indiana divorce attorneys, we can tell you that divorce is also known and referred to as “Dissolution of Marriage”. In real terms, that means one spouse formally declares that the marriage is irretrievably broken – it cannot be fixed – and it should be dissolved. If you decide that dissolution is a potential option, or you are facing a dissolution action filed by your spouse, the most important, practical step is to talk with an attorney who has a deep understanding of Indiana divorce laws.
Grounds for Divorce
In the state of Indiana, personal blame, degrees of responsibility and fault are not issues that need to be discussed before divorce proceedings can start. This is because Indiana is a “no-fault” state. Likely, a divorce will be granted when only one party – and it can be either party – claims that the marriage is broken irretrievably and should be dissolved.
The Divorce Process – Case Timeline
For many clients, it’s emotionally very tough to see their personal family life become a “case” and a “process”. But, clearly understanding how the law sets out the official journey to divorce is not just necessary and helpful, it’s often the first step to coming to terms with change and re-establishing control. So, how does the Indiana divorce process work? What are the key facts and a typical timeline?
The first fact to confirm is the State of Indiana has jurisdiction. For this to occur, one spouse must reside in the state, or be stationed at an Indiana military installation within the state, for at least six continuous months before filing for divorce. The next fact to be aware of is that Indiana divorce law also requires the county where divorce is filed for to have jurisdiction. This means one spouse must have resided in the actual county where the case gets filed for at least three months before filing (or that spouse must have been stationed at a military installation in the county for at least three months).
If you satisfy the residency conditions, the next thing you need to know is that divorce is not “instant” from the moment the request (the “Petition for Dissolution”) is filed. Indiana law requires a 60-day “cooling off” period – also known as the Provisional Period – between the date the petition is filed and the date the divorce can be final. This is nonnegotiable.
The court will not approve any final settlement, or hold any final hearing, until those required sixty days have passed. During this time the divorce is described as “pending”. This does not mean that nothing can happen during the Provisional Period. This is the time for parties to figure out who is going to live in the house, and “who is going to pay what bills” while the divorce is pending. If children are involved, the parties can hopefully work towards an agreeable parenting time schedule and child support amount until the divorce is final. If no agreement can be reached, then the court can intervene to help make these decisions during the Provisional Period.