How to File for a Divorce in Indiana

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The self-service section of the Indiana Courts' website makes it easy to file for divorce in Indiana. You can download all the forms you need in one place in a convenient PDF format you can fill out online. If you and your spouse have already agreed to all the terms of the divorce, there is a separate packet with fewer pages. Once you meet the basic residency requirements, you can file the forms in state court.

Meet the residency requirements. Before you can file for divorce in Indiana, either you or your spouse must have been a legal resident in the state for at least three months. You need not have been married in the state, but you must file in the county in which either you or your spouse meet the residency requirement.

Download the appropriate forms packet from the Indiana Courts' website (see Resources section below). The site will prompt you with a few questions, such as whether you and your spouse have children and whether you are in complete agreement as to all terms of the divorce, in order to determine which forms are appropriate for your case.

Complete the forms, which are self-explanatory and can be completed without the assistance of an attorney. Basically, they request the names and addresses of you and your spouse, whether there is jointly owned property to be divided, and whether you have minor children. As the petitioner, you can stipulate how you'd like the property to be divided and the custody and spousal support issues to be settled, but the court may ultimately alter your preferences before the divorces is finalized. You can also request temporary orders for these issues while the divorce is pending.

File the petition and pay the appropriate fee (between $132 and $152, as of March 2010). Take the originals and two copies to the state courthouse in the county in which either you or spouse have resided for at least the last three months. The clerk will provide the case number and stamp the forms with a filing date. Mail a stamped copy of the forms to your spouse's attorney.

Attend the provisional hearing as needed. If you and your spouse agree completely on the terms of the divorce, there is no need for a provisional hearing. The hearing is where you or your spouse can ask the court for temporary orders granting child custody, child support or visitation rights while the divorce is pending.


  • Indiana law imposes a 60-day "cooling off" period between the date of filing and the date on which a divorce can be finalized. Once this period has elapsed, you can file two copies of the motion for final hearing and notice of final hearing (included in the original forms packet). At the final hearing, after each side presents its case, the judge will settle any outstanding disputes over the terms of the divorce. The divorce is final once the judge signs the decree of dissolution.



About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

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