Indiana Divorce Guide

Legal Separation

Filing for and getting a Legal Separation does not end the marriage. SeparationThe legal separation looks just like a divorce, however. In each case for legal separation, the custody of the children, the amount of child support and alimony, the division of property and the responsibility for the payment of debts must be resolved in the separation agreement, filed before the court and approved. In an action for legal separation, the court may grant a decree for a separation of the parties to the marriage for a period not to exceed one (1) year if the court finds that:

  • conditions in or circumstances of the marriage make it currently intolerable for both parties to live together
  • the marriage should be maintained, and
  • neither party has filed a petition or counter petition for dissolution of marriage
finger pointing rightDivorce Tip Interested in out smarting the soon-to-be-ex? If you cannot afford a high-powered attorney but your ex can, you can go visit all the high-powered attorney’s offices in your area, and interview any lawyer there. After your interview, your ex may not at any time after that hire a divorce attorney from that law firm. Schedule an interview with all high-priced law firms so that a conflict of interest will be established if your ex decides later to interview there. Heh.

In an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, either party may file a motion for any of the following:

  • Temporary maintenance
  • Temporary support or custody of a child of the marriage entitled to support
  • Possession of property
  • Counseling
  • A protective order
If there is a chance your Ex will try to manipulate you or the kids with the visitation schedule, put an on-line Parenting Plan in place. Nothing stops the game-playing like a schedule in black and white. Simply tell your Ex that in order for the schedule to be changed, it must be discussed and agreed to; otherwise it is not changing.

As a part of a motion for temporary maintenance, for support or custody of a child, or for possession of property, either party may request the court to issue a temporary restraining order:

  • restraining any person from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life; or
  • granting temporary possession of property to either party. [IC 31-15-4-3]
Preliminary hearing of petition for temporary support or custody of child

The court will immediately schedule a preliminary hearing upon the filing of a petition for: (1) temporary child support; or (2) temporary custody of a child entitled to support. [IC 31-15-4-5] Either party may request a protective order (Temporary Restraining Order) to prevent domestic or family violence at any time during the dissolution of marriage or legal separation action by filing a petition in the court in which the case is pending. If the petitioner requests an ex parte protective order, the court will immediately: review the request and if required, set a hearing.

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The protective order may:
  • Restrain any person from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, or
  • Grant temporary possession of property to either party.

A request for temporary maintenance, support or custody of a Legal separationchild, or possession of property will be set for hearing by the court. The court may issue an order for temporary maintenance or support and will require that the support payments be made through the clerk of the circuit court as trustee for remittance to the person entitled to receive benefits, unless the court has reasonable grounds for providing or approving another method of payment. The court may require that one or both parties seek counseling, with or without their consent. This provisional order expires when the final decree is entered subject to right of appeal or the petition for dissolution or legal separation is dismissed. Counseling – The court may require the parties to seek counseling for themselves or for a child of the parties under such terms and conditions that the court considers appropriate if:

  • either party makes a motion for counseling in an effort to improve conditions of their marriage
  • a party, the child of the parties, the child’s guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate, or the court makes a motion for counseling for the child, or
  • the court makes a motion for counseling for parties who are the parents of a child less than eighteen (18) years of age. [IC 31-15-4-9]
Residency Requirements

No divorce will be granted unless one of the parties has established residency in Indiana or that one party lived in Indiana for at least 6 months or is a member of the Armed Services and is stationed outside of Indiana. In summary a party must be: a resident of the county; or stationed at a United States military installation within the county; where the petition is filed for three months immediately preceding the filing of the divorce papers. [IC 31-15-2-6 et. seq.]

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