Indiana Divorce Laws for the Length of Time to Contest a Divorce

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Like most states, Indiana law provides for no-fault divorce. It would seem to imply that both spouses agree that the marriage is irreparably broken through no fault of either party. This is not the case. One spouse may file for a no fault divorce and the other spouse cannot stop it. It seems ironic but contesting a no-fault divorce, itself, is grounds to show there are irreconcilable differences, according to Indiana law. A fault divorce, while more protracted and costly, can be stopped up until a final divorce decree is ordered by a judge and the marriage is dissolved. Once it's over, it can no longer be contested but there is no law preventing a couple from re-marrying.

Fault Divorce

A fault divorce can be stopped until a judge rules the divorce is dissolved. A spouse can contest a fault divorce be proving to the court that the non-filing partner is not at fault for the cause of action. Because Indiana does not require a period of separation before filing for divorce, there are three grounds on which a divorce can be contested. All are difficult, time consuming, usually require witnesses to collaborate the story of the objecting spouse, is costly and perhaps most importantly, it will likely fail. The is no legal time limit how long a case may continue.

Condonation, Connivance, Provocation

Condonation, connivance and provocation are the only grounds on which a spouse can object to divorce. Condonation is one spouse giving another permission to commit adultery or some other offending act. If the spouse turns around and sues her mate for divorce on grounds of adultery, the husband can argue that his actions were condoned.

Connivance is setting up a partner to commit an act of wrongdoing. It's akin to condonation but, using the first example, the wife invites the husband's lover to their home for the weekend and then leaves. If she sues on grounds of adultery, the husband's defense could be one of connivance.

The third scenario is provocation. One partner may sue for divorce on grounds of abandonment but the abandonment may have been provoked--at gunpoint, or locking the spouse out of the house, for example. The defense in this case could be that the abandonment was provoked.

The courts and public policy in the state is strongly against forcing a couple to stay together when at least one partner doesn't want to be married any longer. Usually, the court recognizes, it is asking for other problems down the road.

Residency Requirements

It may seem trivial but the divorce action must be filed within the proper jurisdiction or it will not be recognized. This usually just delays the process while the divorce action is filed in the proper county. Residency requirements include that at least one spouse is a resident of Indiana or stationed at a United States military installation within Indiana for six months before filing for divorce or a resident of the county or stationed within the United States for three months before filing for divorce.

No Separation Requirements

Athough many states require separation of a couple for 18 months to up to three years --a cooling off period of sorts during which a couple may reconcile--Indiana has no separation requirements. Quite contrary. Indiana offers an expedited divorce process. The state calls it Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures in which the court can enter a dissolution decree without a hearing. It requires only four things: a petition waiving the hearing; that there are no contested issues; that the couple has signed an agreement on contested issues and 60 days have elapsed since filing for dissolution. Presto--two months later and you're divorced.

Grounds for Divorce

By far the most often cited legal reason for no-fault divorce is irreconcilable differences. For fault divorces, grounds recognized by the courts are undisclosed impotence at the time of marriage, the conviction of a felony after marriage or two years of certifiable and incurable mental illness.


About the Author

Chuck Ayers began writing professionally in 1982, breathing life into obituaries, becoming a political and investigative reporter at a major East Coast metropolitan newspaper. He now freelances and is a California communications and political consultant. He graduated from American University, Washington, D.C., with degrees in political science and economics.

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