All states have statutory and residency requirements to file for divorce. This helps prevent people from “forum shopping” or filing for divorce in a state which may afford them a better outcome, or from engaging in interstate parental kidnapping. This blog discusses the statutory legal requirements to file for divorce in Indiana and how incapacity, living apart, and child custody may affect those requirements.
Indiana Code § 31-15-2-6 governs residency and other requirements for filing for divorce in Indiana. The statute provides that at the time of filing for divorce, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of Indiana or stationed at a U.S. military base within Indiana for at least six months immediately proceeding the filing of the petition for divorce. At least one of the parties must also have been a resident of the county where the petition is filed or stationed at a U.S. military base in that county, for at least three months before filing the petition. If a party to a divorce has been found to be incapacitated and has had a guardian appointed, the guardian, if authorized to file for divorce by the court, may file the petition in the county in which they have resided for at least three months. A guardian who files a petition for a divorce must also file the court order granting them the authority to do so.
Jurisdictional issues may arise when parties to a divorce have been living apart from one another and reside in different counties or in different states. When one of the parties meets the residency requirements, either party may file a divorce petition in Indiana, in that party’s county of residence. However, if neither party has resided in Indiana for at least six months, or any county for at least three months, residency must be established by one of the parties before filing for divorce.
A petition for dissolution, or divorce, must allege that the residency requirements have been met, providing the current address of both parties, as well as the grounds for divorce, the date of the marriage and date of separation, whether there are children of the marriage less than 21 years old, and if so their names, addresses, and dates of birth, if the wife is now pregnant, whether either party is a lifetime sex offender, and if a guardian is filing the petition. A petition must also include the relief sought, such as dissolution of the marriage, an equitable division of property, and/or a custody, parenting time, and child support order.
Once a divorce petition has been accepted by the court, a provisional hearing may be scheduled, if one was requested, where the court will make temporary orders regarding property division, child custody, parenting time, and support until a trial can be held and a final order entered. If both parties agree on all issues, no provisional hearing is required (an agreed entry will likely be filed an ordered by the court to reflect the party’s agreement) and a final settlement agreement and decree of dissolution of marriage may be filed no sooner than sixty (60) days after the filing of the petition. This presupposes the parties are able to reach agreement on all issues.
So, while the statutory legal requirements to file for divorce in Indiana may seem straight-forward at first glance, there are occasions upon which jurisdiction or other statutory legal requirements can become complicated and filing for divorce in Indiana, not so easy. The experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help to try to resolve any of these issues that you may have to get your divorce filed and resolved by mediation or trial. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.