Is Indiana a No Fault Divorce State?
When considering the emotionally charged decision to file for divorce, many individuals wonder, “is Indiana a no fault divorce state?” The answer is yes. Like many other states, Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a marriage may be dissolved without needing to assign blame to either party.
Understanding the legal grounds for divorce is crucial for anyone considering a dissolution of marriage. This article will explore what no fault divorce in Indiana entails, providing insight into its legal framework and implications for those considering this route. However, if you do have further questions or require immediate assistance with a matter of family law in Indiana, do not hesitate to contact the Indiana divorce attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
Our Indianapolis-based law firm is made up of skilled, driven litigators and negotiators who have years of experience guiding and advocating for individuals just like you. Our family law lawyers understand just how traumatic divorce can be, even we no party is truly at fault. Given this, we aim to provide our clients with compassionate, informed legal representation with the stated goal of securing what is required to best allow them to move forward and begin the next chapter in their life.
What is No Fault Divorce?
No fault divorce represents a modern approach to the legal dissolution of marriage. Unlike fault-based divorce, where one must prove grounds such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment, no fault divorce allows couples to end their marriage citing an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage. This term implies that the marriage has broken down beyond repair, and there’s no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation.
In Indiana, no fault divorce aligns with the state’s aim to reduce the adversarial nature of divorce proceedings. By allowing couples to file for divorce without assigning blame, the process becomes less contentious and emotionally draining. It should be noted, however, that some grounds may be stated in the petition for dissolution, if relevant to the divorce. Per Indiana Code 31-15-2-3, these grounds include:
- Impotence that existed at the time the parties married
- A felony conviction of either party after the marriage
- Incurable insanity of a spouse for a period of at least two years
History of No Fault Divorce in Indiana
In 1969, California was the first state to legalize no-fault divorce. Shortly thereafter, dozens of states began to follow suit, with Indiana joining the wave of legal reform in 1973. Prior to this, however, couples in Indiana were required to provide evidence of wrongdoing to obtain a divorce, often leading to public and acrimonious court battles. This not only placed emotional stress on the parties involved but also burdened the legal system with contentious cases.
The transition to a no fault system in Indiana was part of a broader societal and legal recognition that many marriages end due to irreconcilable differences rather than specific faults. The adoption of no fault divorce laws was seen as a progressive step towards a more compassionate legal approach to personal relationships, acknowledging the complexities that lead to a marriage’s breakdown. Since 1973, the impact of no fault divorce in Indiana has been profound, influencing aspects of divorce proceedings including property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody, which are now viewed separately from the reasons for the divorce.
How to File for Divorce
The process of filing for an Indiana no fault divorce is rather straightforward, especially since no fault-based grounds are required to file a divorce petition. This means that all one party must do is a petition for dissolution in the Circuit or Superior court of your Indiana county. As detailed in Indiana Code 31-15-2-5, the petition for dissolution must include:
- The residence of each spouse, including the length of residence in the state and the county where the petition is filed (at least one of the spouses must have (a) resided in Indiana for at least six months, and (b) in the county where the divorce is filed for at least the last three months)
- 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 (i.e. the marriage is irretrievably broken)
- The relief (results) sought in the divorce case
- A statement whether either party is a lifetime sex or violent offender
Beyond filing a petition for dissolution, a person seeking to dissolve a marriage in Indiana will need to file two more documents with the Circuit or Superior court of their Indiana county; an appearance with the court and service of summon upon the other party. Generally speaking, an appearance is simply a document that lets the court know who the petitioner is and how to contact them. This document can be obtained in person at the County Clerk of Court’s office or obtained online. Serving a summons, however, is a bit more complicated and must be done through certified mail; in person upon filing an affidavit; or by hiring a process server to serve the summons.
Pros and Cons of Fault-Based Divorce
While most individuals choose to file for an Indiana no fault divorce, there are other options available. As stated earlier, Indiana Code 31-15-2-3 allows individuals to file for divorce on grounds of impotence, conviction of a felony, or incurable insanity. Given these options, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of filing for no fault divorce over fault-based divorce.
Advantages of No Fault Divorce
- Reduces Conflict: No fault divorce can lower the level of conflict and bitterness, as spouses don’t need to prove wrongdoing.
- Simplifies the Process: It streamlines the divorce process, making it faster and less legally complex.
- Promotes Privacy: By not airing marital issues in court, it maintains more privacy for the family.
- Focuses on Resolution: Allows for a focus on important issues like child custody and asset division without the distraction of proving fault.
Disadvantages of No Fault Divorce
- Perceived Unfairness: Some individuals feel it’s unfair to not consider marital misconduct when deciding issues like alimony or asset distribution.
- Ease of Divorce: Critics argue that it makes ending a marriage too easy, potentially undermining the commitment to marriage.
- Financial Implications: The financial impact can be significant, especially if one spouse was more financially dependent on the other.
Need to Speak with a Divorce Lawyer?
Making the decision to file for divorce in Indiana is no easy decision. Dissolving a marriage can impact the entire family dynamic and lead to both uncertainty and apprehension. So, if you’re currently thinking about getting a divorce, please speak with the Indianapolis divorce lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. We have earned a reputation for providing hard-hitting legal advocacy, even while handling the most complex divorce issues. On top of that, we understand the emotional and spiritual difficulties that often accompany matters like these and can provide a listening ear and helpful hand during this difficult time.
To speak with one of our Indianapolis divorce attorneys today, simply call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team is ready to support you and advocate for you during this difficult time.