What Is the “Cooling Off” Period in a Divorce Case

What Is the “Cooling Off” Period in an Indiana Divorce Case?

Having children, who will grow up and become productive members of society, is a favored public policy in Indiana. For this reason, a party just cannot file a case one day and get divorced the next. In every state, there is a “cooling off” period to see if the parties can work out their differences, remain married, and presumably have children. This blog explores Indiana’s “cooling off” period in divorce cases.

The place to start with any legal query is to determine the controlling law. Pursuant to the relevant statute in the divorce act, an Indiana trial court cannot divorce parties until sixty (60) days have passed from the filing of the divorce. In some states the “cooling off” period is as long as a year. That said, a “cooling off” period is exactly what it means if a party threatened divorce and filed when they were angry, does that really mean they should get divorced?

While only one party has to allege the marriage is irretrievable broken for the divorce court to divorce them, this, again, does not mean a divorce filing in the heat of marital strife is a marriage that should be terminated by divorce. That said, if you are not in favor of the divorce and believe it may have been a “knee-jerk” decision by your spouse who has no way “to save face” other than see it through, you have options.

That said, a party wishing to remain married and not be divorced can seek a preliminary hearing. In a preliminary hearing, the court can order joint counseling of the parties if they both consent to joint counseling. That said, you know your spouse as well as anyone and if joint counseling does not work, it has done nothing more than cost the parties a few bucks as it is presumably during the “cooling off” period and does not delay the divorce.

Many divorce attorneys will tell you the reason many marriages fail is related to social media. With social media, it appears that everyone has a grand life, living in an expensive house, driving an expensive car, and are as happy as can be. Nothing could be further from the truth. Life is a struggle every day for every person. Is this why you want a divorce? To use an old adage, “the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence”. This may explain why many divorcees remarry their former partner.

This noted, it is surprising to divorce attorneys how little thought or consideration is given to a divorce. In our society, everything is disposable. We can drive a new car on a regular basis, trade up houses, and constantly live to a higher standard. That said, many litigants take what they have for granted and do not realize that in most cases, their quality of life will be drastically reduced should they get divorced. Running two (2) households costs much more than running one—the marital residence.

However, as the presumption for division of the marital property is an equal division it is possible that a high-income earner, such as a physician, whose wife has stayed at home to raise the children, could have a dramatically higher quality of life on divorce. The Divorce Act accounts for this to ensure a just and reasonable result in at least two (2) ways. First, the trial court can order rehabilitation maintenance for the a party to obtain a degree or vocational training for up the three (3) years after divorce in an amount it deems appropriate. Second, the court can order an unequal division of the martial property by considering the “economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of property is to become effective [which is typically at the time of divorce].

This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates who practice domestic law across Indiana. This blog is provided for general educational purposes, as a well-informed legal consumer is a better legal consumer. The blog is not written to be relied upon for any given legal matter or issue. The blog is not specific legal advice. We hope this blog helps you better understand the social, political, and legal rationale for “cooling off” periods.


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