Do You Have to Be Separated in Indiana Before You Get Divorced?

By Elizabeth Stock

While you do not need to be separated from your spouse prior to filing for divorce, you must live separately from your spouse for a minimum of 60 days before the court will grant the divorce. In addition, there are several requirements before you can file for divorce in Indiana. For example, you or your spouse must live in Indiana for at least six months and you or your spouse must live in the county where you file the divorce petition for at least three months.

At-Fault Divorce

When filing for divorce in Indiana, you must state the reason, or grounds, for the divorce. The reason can be the fault of one party; this type of case is called an at-fault divorce. Under Indiana law, grounds for an at-fault petition include an incurable mental disease that persists for at least two years, impotence at the time of marriage, and a felony conviction of one spouse after the marriage begins. To be granted a divorce, you will need to show the court that your spouse is responsible for the divorce by providing evidence of one of these circumstances.

No-Fault Divorce

In addition to the at-fault reasons for divorce, Indiana, like all other states, allows a spouse to file for a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce means that you will not need to show the court that your spouse did anything wrong in order to have the court grant your divorce. To file for a no-fault divorce in Indiana, file the divorce petition with the court stating that the divorce is irretrievably broken. In a no-fault divorce case, if one spouse would like a divorce, there is nothing the other spouse can do to prevent it.

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Cooling-Off Period

After you file for a no-fault divorce in Indiana, you must wait at least 60 days before your divorce will be finalized. During this time, you and your spouse must live apart from one another. However, if you and your spouse disagree about important aspects of your divorce like child support or the division of the marital assets, it may take longer than 60 days to resolve these issues. If you and your spouse agree about all issues, you can create a written agreement that allows for the divorce to become final immediately at the end of the cooling-off period. In contrast, if there is a chance of reconciliation, the court can postpone the divorce for an additional 45 days. If the case has been continued and 90 days pass without a request to terminate the marriage, the court can dismiss the divorce case.

Legal Separation

Indiana also recognizes legal separation as a temporary alternative to divorce. Legal separation may be an attractive option for you if you are living apart from your spouse and you would like marital property and custody issues decided without terminating the marriage. However, after one year, the legal separation ends and the spouses have the option of returning to their married status or continuing with the divorce.

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