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Indiana Divorce Recovery

divorce decreeIndiana child support. Indiana child custody. Alimony. Child visitation. Divorce Settlement Agreements. Parenting Plans. Divorce in Indiana. These phrases tend to run chills down our back.

For those that have children from the marriage, Indiana divorce laws direct parents to complete a Parenting Plan and Visitation Schedule. Get these documents done right away so that you avoid the court giving you its own version. If you cannot get your spouse to agree, submit one yourself. The court will accept it unless your spouse objects, which will get your spouse negotiating (what you set out to do in the first place). 

You will need to become familiar with certain aspects of Indiana divorce law in order to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of becoming single again.

  • Child Custody
  • Annulment
  • Child Support
  • Separation
  • Settlement
  • Alimony
  • Visitation
  • Grounds
  • Residency
  • Mediation
  • Grandparents
  • Waiting Period

MomChild Custody

Indiana courts determine child custody and enter a custody order based on state guidelines in accordance with the best interests of the child. You will be given an opportunity to put together your own Parenting Plan during your divorce. Should you not be able to come to an agreement with your spouse and fail to craft a parenting plan, the court will impose a plan of its own. In either case, the family court will determine what are in the best interests of the child, with primary custody not favoring either parent. As part of the Parenting Plan, it will include a Child Visitation Schedule and get that approved by the court. The court will evaluate various factors, including the following:

  • The age and sex of the child, custody strategies
  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents,
  • The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age,
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parent, the child's sibling; and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests,
  • The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community,
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved,
  • Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent,
  • Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian.

The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to his or her custodial arrangements and preferences for who will have child custody.

good ideaConcerned about custody and visitation issues in the future? Will your spouse try to take advantage of you? Get an online parenting plan and set up the calendar before you get divorced, and adjust it to the court ordered visitation schedule. If your ex knows it's online and you are documenting things, it's less likely you'll be constantly challenged. Click on the demo link to view the program.

Joint Legal Custody Guidelines

The court may award joint legal custody if it finds that to be in the best interest of the child. The court can award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody of the child. In determining whether an award of joint legal custody would be in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider it a matter of primary, but not determinative, importance that the persons awarded joint custody have agreed to an award of joint legal custody. Based upon laws on child custody, the court will also consider:

  • the fitness and suitability of each of the persons awarded joint custody,
  • whether the persons awarded joint custody are willing and able to communicate and cooperate in advancing the child's welfare,
  • the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least 14 years of age,
  • whether the child has established a close and beneficial relationship with both of the persons awarded joint custody,
  • whether the persons awarded joint custody live in close proximity to each other and plan to continue to do so,
  • the nature of the physical and emotional environment in the home of each of the persons awarded joint custody.
good ideaWorried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.


Download Indiana Divorce Forms

[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 17-2-8, 17-2-8.5 and 17-2-15]

justiceMarriage Annulment - Marital Annulment

A judgment of annulment (called a nullity) to a marriage effectively treats it as never having occurred. One must petition the court in much the same way as divorce, except that an annulment requires a greater burden of proof than does a divorce. Grounds for annulment in Indiana include:

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  • If you have been threatened, coerced or compelled (under duress) into a marriage,
  • Fraud or misrepresentation,
  • Incest (consanguinity) by marrying a person too closely related,
  • Unable to consummate the marriage, if
  • Your spouse has some mental illness, permanent or temporary, or
  • If your spouse was already married (bigamy).



[Indiana Code - 31-11-8-1, 31-13-1-3, 31-13-2-1. ]

child supportChild Support

In actions involving an Indiana divorce, legal separation or child support, Indiana child support laws mandate that courts may order one or both parents to pay any reasonable amount for Indiana child support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct. The court may consider all relevant factors, including:
1. the financial resources of the custodial parent and
2. the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if:
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  • the marriage had not been dissolved; or
  • the separation had not been ordered
  • the physical or mental condition of the child and the child's educational needs; and
  • the financial resources and needs of the non custodial parent. Recipients to child support must have or establish a bank account into which child support payments may be made.

Indiana child support terminates when the child becomes 21 years old, unless any of the following conditions occur:

  • The child is emancipated before becoming 21,
  • The child is incapacitated. In this case the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court,
  • The child:
  • is at least 18 years old
  • has not attended a secondary or post secondary school for the prior 4 months and is not enrolled in a secondary or post secondary school; and
  • is employed, or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment.

An Indiana child support order may also include basic health and hospitalization insurance, where appropriate, as well as provisions for the child's educational expenses.

Annual Support Fee (ASFE)

The Annual Support Fee (ASFE) or sometimes referred to as a docket fee by County Clerks, is $55 per year, and is due each January by all payors of IN child support. The state mandates that this fee must be paid by all those individuals whose court order requires them to pay support or maintenance payments through the Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU) or through the Clerk of Courts.

In cases where there is an income execution order (wages garnished), the employer will receive a notice each year and must remit this fee with ordinary child support deductions, to the INSCCU. If you are paying directly to the INSCCU and not with a wage assignment through work, you can remit your annual $55 to:

PO Box 6271
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6271

Are you are looking to get an Indiana divorce, and need a blueprint, or advice, on what to do and NOT do? Have you looked in our divorce articles section yet? There are many articles written by experts that provide the full spectrum of issues on getting through the dissolution process in the best manner possible.



[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 6]

fightingLegal Separation - Marriage Separation

Filing for and getting a Legal Separation does not end the marriage. The legal separation looks just like a divorce, however. In each case for legal separation (sometimes referred to as a marital 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.

A legal separation can last up to one year. After one year you should be ready to decide if you want to get a divorce or get back together with your spouse. The parenting agreement can be automated, using Parenting Plan software, making your life much simpler. If either spouse files for a divorce during the legal separation period, then the divorce case will take over and the legal separation will end. All orders of a legal separation end when the legal separation ends. 


good ideaWorried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.



marital assetsDivorce Settlement - Dividing assets acquired during marriage

In the divorce or separation process the parties will have an opportunity to reach a divorce settlement of their marital assets and debts. Should they be unable to reach a divorce settlement, the court will divide the property of the parties, separating the pre-marital assets from the marital assets, and do so in an equitable fashion, although that may result in an uneven division.

The court will presume that an equal division of the marital property between the parties is just and reasonable. However, this presumption may be rebutted by a party who presents relevant evidence, including evidence concerning the following factors, that an equal division would not be just and reasonable:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the contribution was income producing,
  • The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse before the marriage or through inheritance or gift,
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence or the right to dwell in the family residence for such periods as the court considers just to the spouse having custody of any children,
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property,
  • The earnings or earning ability of the parties as related to a final division of property and a final determination of the property rights of the parties.

Your divorce settlement will include the Parenting Agreement if you have children from the marriage.

Lock up the assets

If you think your spouse might try to hide assets, or spend them, we suggest you file a petition for a financial temporary restraining order. This order prevents liquidating assets or spending money beyond the basic necessities of daily living. You might first consider allocating enough funds to see yourself through, because the restraining order will apply to you too. good idea


[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 7]

alimonyAlimony - Spousal Support - Maintenance

A court will consider the following concerning spousal support (aka maintenance) and will likely grant alimony if:


  • If the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected, the court may find that maintenance for the spouse is necessary,
  • a spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for the spouse's needs,
  • the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment; the court may find that maintenance is necessary for the spouse in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate.

Further considerations can be:

  • the educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced,
  • whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking spousal support occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, or both,
  • the earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market; and,
  • the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking spousal support to find appropriate employment; a court may find that rehabilitative maintenance support for the partner seeking spousal support is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three years from the date of the final decree. 
good ideaWorried about custody and visitation issues in the future? Will your spouse try to take advantage of you? Get an online parenting plan and set up the calendar before you get divorced, and adjust it to the court ordered visitation schedule. If your ex knows it's online and you are documenting things, it's less likely you'll be constantly challenged. Click on the demo link to view the program.

[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 7]

new timesVisitation - Kids time with the other parent

The parties can agree to a Child Visitation Schedule for the non-custodial parent (parenting time) and a defined schedule, and if they are unable to, the court will arrange a standard schedule that may include the following: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess-winter, spring and summer, New Year's Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father's Day with Father, Mother's Day with Mother, alternate years on the children's birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer. We suggest you have as much in writing as possible. Include who drops off and picks up, the times involved, what to do if one is consistently late, etc. A simple way to be certain all details are in the document is to use a Parenting Plan online.

great ideaBe aware that you have to guide your side of the divorce. Don't rely that your attorney will think of everything. You set the course; your lawyer navigates. If you anticipate any problems with custody or visitation, we suggest you own Child Custody Strategies

good ideaWorried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.


cheatingGrounds for Divorce

In order to file for a divorce or separation in this state, you must have grounds for divorce (a reason to request the marriage be terminated).

Grounds for divorce in Indiana are:


  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,
  • The conviction of either of the parties, subsequent to the marriage, of a felon,
  • Impotence, existing at the time of the marriage,
  • Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least 2 years.

Divorce forms and papers


[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 2-]

residencyResidency - You must qualify to file for divorce

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.


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[Indiana Code - Title 31 - Article 15 - Chapters: 2-6)]

mediationMediation - Using a Mediator to resolve differences

Guided by IN divorce laws, the court can require the parties to seek divorce mediation 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. Joint counseling. The court may not require joint counseling of the parties:

  • without the consent of both parties; or
  • if there is evidence that the other party has demonstrated a pattern of domestic or family violence against a family or household member. 


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grandmotherGrandparents visitation

A child's grandparent may seek visitation rights if the child's parent is deceased; the marriage of the child's parents has been dissolved in Indiana; or the child was born out of wedlock. A court may not grant visitation rights to a paternal grandparent of a child who is born out of wedlock if the child's father has not established paternity in relation to the child.





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waiting periodSixty (60) days must have elapsed after a petition is filed in an action for dissolution of marriage in order for the court to enter a summary dissolution decree. The parties may jointly sign a waiver for a final hearing and have the 60 day period waived.

There is no restriction on remarriage of either party where the summons was personally served on the defendant, provided the final decree does not restrict that party from remarrying.



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A Word On Your Journey Toward Healing And Recovery ...

At some point in the process, you will likely discover that you will not be able to manage the divorce recovery all by yourself. If you are a man, you are apt to bury the hurt and anguish and force yourself to Move On. However, unresolved feelings are just that- unresolved, and are likely to become issues later on. If you are a woman, you will feel the process more, and likely will experience a feeling of loss while feeling lost. We recommend you spend time discovering why things worked out as they did, so that you grow with the new knowledge. We offer a myriad of tools that can get you to the other side. The more you learn, the less you fear. Trust us on this. Spend some time and a few bucks and the return will be ten-fold.

Arm yourself with Child Custody Strategies, begin an on-line Parenting Plan and download Divorce Forms. Begin TODAY.