Indiana Divorce: What Happens to the House

Written on Thursday September 6, 2018 by Bob Hinrichs

Going through a divorce is often emotional and frustrating. When you combine that with confusing divorce laws, it can be downright overwhelming. We want to help make this difficult time a bit easier. Therefore, we’ve compiled information to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding divorce in Indiana. Feel free to search for your question below or read this entirely to learn more.

Division of Assets in Divorce

Equitable Distribution

Indiana is an equitable division (common law) state. What this means is that assets are divided fairly, but that doesn’t always mean equally. There is also a distinction between property that was owned separately before marriage and property that was acquired during marriage. Typically, separate property is awarded to whoever it belonged to before the marriage. Then, married property is divided fairly amongst the spouses. However, this may change if a judge or couple feels it is fairer to split the separate property as well.

Factors Considered

In an equitable distribution divorce, many factors are considered to determine asset distribution such as:

  • Each spouse’s contributions to the household (financial or otherwise).
  • Each spouse’s economic situation and potential future earnings.
  • Which spouse will have full custody of the kids (important for determining who gets the home).
  • Age of spouses.
  • Duration of marriage.

While default division of assets in divorce typically starts at 50-50, the above factors often sway the exact percentage one way or the other. It all depends on what both parties can agree on through mediation, attorneys, or court.

Reason for Divorce in Indiana

There are two different types of divorce in the United States. The first is no-fault, which means the end of the marriage can’t be blamed on one party alone. Typically, it means the marriage is ending because the two parties are growing apart. This is often referred to as an irretrievable breakdown. On the flip side, a fault divorce is filed when one of the parties does something to push the other one away. This may include actions such as adultery or being convicted of a felony. While all states allow for no-fault divorces, Indiana also allows for fault-based divorces. However, there are only three reasons you can file for a fault-based divorce:

  • One of the spouses is convicted of a felony.
  • Impotence.
  • One of the spouses is diagnosed with incurable insanity for a period of at least two years.

Whether you use fault or no-fault to file, you’ll be able to divorce your spouse. However, the one possible advantage to using one of the three reasons listed above is that it may help you achieve a better outcome. For example, if you can prove your spouse is insane, you may have an easier time during the custody battle or obtaining more of your marital property.

Timing Associated with Divorce

Residency Duration

Most states have a required length of time that someone must live in a state before they can file for divorce. In Indiana, that length of time is six months. To file for divorce, you have to prove residency. You can do that by keeping a dated piece of mail with your address on it (such as a utility bill).

Length of Time for Divorce to Finalize

In Indiana, you must wait a minimum of 60 days before the court will finalize your divorce. In some cases (such as a busy court schedule or a delay in asset division decisions), your divorce can take more than 60 days. To expedite the process, be willing to employ the help of a mediator or attorney.

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Child Custody in a Divorce

The default decision in Indiana courts is to award both parents joint custody. However, the best interest of the child is always the most important determining factor. If the judge doesn’t believe that both parents are willing to work together to raise the child, they will likely give one parent primary custody.

The court will make many considerations such as:

  • The age of the child.
  • The relationships between the child and each parent.
  • What the parents want.
  • The potential living situation with each parent.
  • Stability of the child’s current situation (changing schools, housing, etc.).
  • If the child is over 14 years old, they’ll also get a heavy say in where they’d like to live.

If the parent who makes less money is granted primary custody, the other parent may be responsible for child support

Costs of Divorce in Indiana

The average cost of divorce in Indiana can vary depending on the exact circumstances. Divorces with more moving parts and decisions can be more costly than a short relationship that didn’t acquire many assets. However, here are a few of the costs you can expect when going through a divorce:

  • $132-152 for a basic filing fee.
    • The exact amount depends on the county in which you are filing.
  • Kids and divorce class.
    • This commonly required class is designed to help kids through the divorce transition.
    • You may be able to get the fee waived with special permission.
  • Attorney fees.
    • This fee varies the most because it completely depends on who you hire and how complicated your asset divisions are.
  • Separate living spaces.
    • If you’re not living with your spouse, you’ll have to cover your own expenses rather than splitting them.
  • Child care.
    • If your spouse isn’t being cooperative or helping with the kids a much as usual, you may have to rely a bit more on child care professionals.

This list is not all-inclusive. There are many types of fees you may encounter throughout your divorce. However, we’re confident this list will give you a good idea of what to expect.

For a bit more information regarding divorce in Indiana, visit their Legal Services site here

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