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Military Divorce in Indiana

Generally speaking, a military divorce in Indiana will play out much in the same manner as any other divorce. However, there are some aspects of a military divorce that are unique and complicated compared to a traditional civilian divorce. Therefore, any member of the military considering filing for divorce in Indiana should consult with a skilled Indiana divorce attorney with past experience handling military cases.

The Indiana divorce lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have years of experience in representing individuals, both civilian and military, through every stage of divorce proceedings. Our team has a keen understanding of the sensitive nature that military divorces may possess and is committed to protecting your best interests in the matter.

To begin charting a path forward, speak with an attorney today by calling 317-857-0160 or completing our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Indiana Family Law Attorneys

Filing for a Military Divorce in Indiana

There are no grounds that need to be met in order to file for a military divorce in Indiana. Instead, both parties must state that the marriage is irretrievably broken and meet the residency requirements listed in Indiana Code 31-15-2-6. For the purposes of military members, these requirements are as follows:

  • One of the parties has been stationed in a United States military installation in Indiana for at least six months preceding the filing of the divorce petition;
  • One of the parties has been stationed in a United States military installation within the county where the petition is filed for at least three months preceding the filing of the divorce petition

If those requirements are met, a military member (or spouse of a military member) may begin the divorce process by filing a petition for dissolution in the Circuit or Superior Court of the Indiana county in which they currently reside. The petition is a formal written request asking the court to dissolve or end your marriage; and in the absence of a previous legal separation, this petition will set forth the official date of legal separation between the parties. This date could be important later in the divorce process when determining the equitable distribution of assets. 

Under Indiana Code 31-15-2-5, a petition for the dissolution of a marriage must include the following:  

  • The residence of each spouse, including the length of residence in the state and the county where the petition is filed
  • The date of marriage
  • The date on which the parties separated
  • The name and address of every child of the marriage who is either less than 21 years of age or is disabled
  • The grounds for divorce
  • The relief (results) sought in the divorce case
  • A statement whether either party is a lifetime sex or violent offender

After the petition for dissolution has been filed, the filing party will then proceed to file an appearance with the Court and serve the other party with a summons. In the most basic sense, an appearance is simply a document that informs the court of who has filed the petition and how to contact both parties. Appearance forms can be obtained in-person at the County Clerk of Court office or accessed online. To locate a county-specific form, visit the Indiana Judicial Branch website.

As for serving the summons, Indiana Code 31-15-2-8 states that whenever a petition is filed, a copy of the petition, including a copy of a summons, shall be served upon the other party to the marriage in person and in the same manner as service of summons in civil actions. If a summons is not served, the divorce cannot proceed, as the other spouse must be aware that they are being sued for divorce.

Once the petition has been filed, a 60-day waiting period begins before the decree may be entered. During this time, the two parties can work to resolve various issues that will be addressed in the decree, including the division of marital assets, child custody and parenting time, child support, and/or spousal maintenance. The two parties may also use this time to gather documentation related to their assets and liabilities, as required under Indiana Code 31-15-7-4.

In addition, for those with children, the 60-day waiting period may also be used to negotiate and decide on how certain child-related issues will be handled while the divorce is pending. Furthermore, Indiana Code 31-15-4-8 provides that a court may enter provisional orders to make agreements or decisions regarding these issues enforceable while the divorce is pending.

Finally, when it comes to military divorce in Indiana, it’s important to know that a member of the military may request the postponement of divorce proceedings for the entire time period that they are on active duty and for a period of up to 60 days following their return.

Property Division and Benefits in a Military Divorce

It’s important to understand that in a military divorce in Indiana, a military member’s pension is considered marital property if the individual has reached retirement eligibility. When determining the amount the nonmilitary spouse will receive, the judge will use a formula based upon the number of years they were married while the spouse was in the military. If the military member has not reached retirement eligibility, the court will consider the military retirement benefits in adjudging a just and reasonable property division.

In addition, a nonmilitary spouse may be able to continue to receive certain military benefits, such as healthcare. However, this is only possible if the military member has accrued 20 years of service; the marriage lasted at least 20 years; or there is a period of 20 years during which the service and marriage overlap. In addition, a non-military spouse may be entitled to a portion of a service member’s retirement benefits if the marriage lasted ten years or longer while their spouse was/has been on active duty.

Finalizing a Military Divorce

After 60 days have passed since the filing of the petition for dissolution, or the postponement period has passed, a marriage may be terminated via entry of a decree of dissolution and a judgment establishing each party’s rights and obligations. As stated earlier, these two elements of the decree may be established and agreed upon during the 60-day waiting period. If this is the case, the two parties may then ask the court to approve their agreement and issue a decree. However, to waive the final hearing the parties must both agree to and sign a written waiver stating that there are no contested issues between them.

If outstanding issues exist and are not agreed upon by both parties, the Court will hold a hearing to resolve them. At this hearing, the two parties will provide evidence in support of their wishes, which the Court will consider when deciding whether to issue the decree and judgment or to continue the case. Most often, courts will issue a decree and judgement establishing the rights and obligations of each party moving forward. This judgment can address a variety of issues, such as:

In some situations, the court may choose to continue the case. Basically, this is a postponement of the case, calling for the parties to reconvene at a later time. Although this is quite rare, it does occur from time-to-time, often when the Court believes that there is a chance of reconciliation.

Modifying a Divorce Decree

After a divorce decree has been entered, circumstances may change, thus rendering certain aspects of the court’s orders no longer appropriate. For example, when one parent’s income changes substantially, there may be a need to modify the child support order; or when a military member is deployed or required to move, there may be a need to modify the parenting time schedule. When situations like these occur, the concerned party may petition the presiding Court to modify the original order. However, it’s best to first speak with a skilled and experienced attorney who can explain the filing process and help evaluate the strength of the proposed grounds for modification.

Looking to Hire an Attorney for a Military Divorce in Indiana?

Not only is divorce emotionally challenging, but it’s also legally complex. So, whether you’re going through a contentious high-asset divorce, an uncontested divorce, or a military divorce in Indiana, you’ll want to secure the services of an experienced Indiana family law attorney. This will ensure that all relevant matters are addressed and handled in a capable, competent manner, and that your best interests are being considered at each step in the divorce proceedings.

If you choose to work with the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you’ll be represented by driven and skilled litigators who place an emphasis on securing you the best results possible. Our team understands everything that’s at stake for you and will work tirelessly to protect you and your best interests. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free confidential consultation.

Military Divorce in Indiana
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Military Divorce in Indiana
This article discusses Military Divorce in Indiana
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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