Indiana Divorce Laws

When you reach the point that you realize divorce is the only option for your marriage, it is both an emotionally and mentally draining decision. Understanding the laws surrounding the process may help you make more informed decisions as you move forward.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

In order to file for divorce in Indiana, one of the parties must be a resident of the state for six months immediately preceding the filing. One of the parties must also have been a resident of the county in which they are filing for at least the three months prior to filing for divorce.

Indiana is a no fault divorce state. In other words, you do not have to have specific grounds to file for divorce, outside of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, a fault divorce can be filed on the following grounds:

  • Conviction after the marriage of a felony
  • Impotence present at the time of the marriage
  • Incurable insanity for a period of two or more years

Members of the military who are stationed in Indiana must meet the residency requirement. In other words, they must have been stationed in the state for the six months prior to filling. However, military law may also apply to their situation, which makes using an attorney a good idea any time one of the individuals in the marriage is in the military.

Division of Property

Indiana follows the equitable distribution model for marital property. This means that the property is divided in an equitable fashion, but not necessarily an equal fashion. The goal of the courts when the individuals cannot figure out the division on their own is to divide it based on what is fair. Factors considered include:

  • Whether any property was owned by either spouse prior to the marriage
  • Contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of that property
  • Economic circumstances each spouse will face after the property is divided, including the desire to keep the kids in the family home
  • Earnings capabilities of each spouse
  • Conduct of the parties during the marriage in relationship to the property

Child Custody

Parents are always encouraged to come to their own agreement about child custody arrangements, but sometimes this is not possible. When the courts have to step in, they will not make a decision based entirely on the gender of the parent or the children. Instead, they will look at several factors, including:

  • Age and gender of the child
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The wishes of the child, with more emphasis in this regard if the child is 14 or older
  • Interaction and relationship with the child and parents, siblings, or other members of the household that affect the child’s best interests
  • How well the child has adjusted to home, community, and school
  • Mental and physical health issues
  • Any history of domestic violence by a parent
  • Any evidence that a de fact custodian has cared for the child rather than the parents


The courts will use their discretion when determining whether or not a spouse will be required to pay spousal support. Factors considered in this decision include:

  • Mental or physical incapacitation of either spouse
  • Lake of sufficient property
  • Educational levels of each spouse, including determining if one spouse had to take a break from pursuing education due to the needs of the other spouse
  • Earning capacity of each spouse
  • Time and cost of acquiring training to increase earning capacity

In cases where the courts deem child support is necessary, the Income Shares Model will be used to determine the amount. This model attempts to place the burden of caring for the child equally between the two parents. Factors considered in these cases include:

  • Economic situation of custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have had if the marriage had stayed in effect
  • Mental and physical condition of the child as well as educational needs
  • Economic condition of the noncustodial parent