Same-sex marriages and gay divorces in Indiana have been legal in the state since October 6, 2014. Before this date, gay marriages were restricted by statute in 1986. In June 2015, same-sex unions became legally recognized by judges throughout the country by the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Same-sex divorce in Indiana is granted under the same laws as marriage dissolution for heterosexual spouses. Any couple can file for same-sex divorce in Indiana as long as they meet the residency requirements, and the marriage was official. The state does not recognize a common-law marriage but recognizes cohabitation, which does not require any dissolution procedure.
Same-sex divorce online
Same-sex couples can file for divorce in Indiana either with the help of an attorney or on their own. Divorce over the Internet is a relatively fast and easy way to prepare for an uncontested divorce without a lawyer. But you will not obtain a final decree online. You can think of it as a semblance of a do-it-yourself divorce, where you do not have to collect or complete the necessary documents by yourself — an online service will do it for you.
Same-sex divorce paperwork in Indiana can be obtained at onlineindianadivorce.com. They provide their clients with state-required printable documents and filing instructions for only $139. This affordable price is just one of the benefits of using online services. You will also reduce stress and save time.
Same-sex divorce papers in Indiana
A person married to a same-sex spouse can get a divorce in Indiana by filing the marriage dissolution case at the county court. The procedure includes collecting a package of documents that correspond to the circumstances of each case. To compile and complete same-sex divorce forms in Indiana correctly, a person can hire a lawyer or use online services.
How to file a same-sex divorce in Indiana? The divorce process in Indiana for same-sex couples begins when one of the spouses submits a Petition for Dissolution, Summons, Settlement agreement, and other necessary documents to the court. More detailed information about the composition of same-sex divorce papers in Indiana can be found at the county clerk’s office.
Valid grounds for same-sex divorce in Indiana
Couples can get a same-sex divorce in Indiana if they meet the residency requirements. Either one of the spouses must have lived in the state for six months before filing for divorce and three months in the county where the action is to occur.
Also, to file for divorce in Indiana, same-sex couples must provide one of the statutory grounds for their separation (IN Code § 31-15-2-3):
Conviction of a felony by the other party;
Incurable insanity for two years.
Irretrievable breakdown is a no-fault ground for marriage dissolution. The other three are fault-based grounds, which means that they must be proven in court.
Custody of the Child
Couples with children must go through the process of custody determination before their marriage can be officially over. The spouses (through a settlement agreement) or the court will determine which parent the children will live with after separation and who will make decisions about their well-being. Also, one of the requirements for spouses with minor children is to attend a parenting class where they obtain training on how to help their children cope with the present situation.
Family law does not discriminate against the rights of any parent based on their gender. Besides, it is customary for both parents to receive joint legal custody if it is in the child’s best interest.
If spouses do not have a settlement agreement, a judge will determine the custody according to the following factors (Code § 31-17-2-8):
- the age and gender of a child;
- the child’s wishes if he or she is at least 14 years old;
- the wishes of the parents;
- relationship of the child with parents and siblings;
- the physical and mental health of all parties;
- the child’s adjustments to their home, school, and community;
- whether either of the parents has been charged with child abuse of family violence;
- other factors that a judge deems important.
In any marriage dissolution action, one or both parents may be ordered to pay a reasonable amount to support their child regardless of marital misconduct. Indiana uses an Income Shares Model to determine each parent’s share in the child support obligation. The table for calculating a weekly support payment is based on combined weekly adjusted income and the number of children.
When ordering child support, a judge also considers the following factors (IN Code § 31-16-6-1):
- the financial resources of and needs of both parents;
- the standard of living that a child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not ended;
- the child’s physical and mental condition and his/her educational needs.
Indiana law requires the following conditions for the termination of child support obligation:
- The child is 19 years old or graduated from secondary school, whichever comes later;
- The child is emancipated before 19 years;
- The child is at least 18 years old. He/she has not attended secondary education for four previous months, is not enrolled in secondary or postsecondary education, and is capable of fully supporting themselves.
Emancipation means that a child is married, on active duty in the US armed services, or is not under the care of either parent. Support payments may continue even after the child’s 19th birthday if he or she is incapacitated.
In a divorce proceeding, one of the spouses with less income can ask for financial support from the other. The court determines the duration and amount of maintenance according to the following findings (IN Code § 31-15-7-2):
- a spouse is incapacitated and cannot support himself or herself (alimony will be awarded for the period of incapacity);
- a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her needs, or the spouse is a custodial parent of an incapacitated child that prevents them from seeking employment;
- the earning capacity of each spouse, their training, education, employment skills;
- the length of the marriage;
- the educational level of each spouse;
- whether the interruption in schooling or employment occurred due to homemaking or care for a child;
- the time needed to acquire training to find appropriate employment.
Although Indiana is a no-fault state, adultery can sometimes influence the court’s decision to award spousal support, mainly if family funds were used to pay for the affair.
The maintenance order may be modified. If one of the spouses wants to apply for a modification of the existing arrangement, he or she must show a significant change in circumstances.
In Indiana, the court usually distributes marital property equally between the spouses. Marital property is everything acquired after the wedding except for personal gifts and inheritances.
But how is property divided for same-sex spouses? Divorce laws in Indiana concerning property division are the same for same-sex unions and heterosexual marriages. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, a judge will divide assets and debts after considering the following factors (IN Code § 31-15-7-5):
- the contribution of each spouse to the acquired property;
- the extent of marital and separate property acquired by each party;
- economic circumstances and tax consequences of the division of property;
- the conduct of the spouses related to disposition or dissipation of property;
- earning ability of the spouses.
Any marriage dissolution proceeding can be referred to mediation if the court finds that it will benefit the parties. It is a less stressful alternative to a court trial and usually more inexpensive. Couples are encouraged to resolve their differences and reach an amicable agreement before the next court hearing.
Negotiations between spouses are conducted by an impartial third party called a mediator. He or she cannot give legal advice or tell the parties what to do. The mediation sessions must be completed within 60 days after ordered and end before a scheduled hearing where the mediation agreement will be reviewed.
Filing fees for same-sex divorce in Indiana
When spouses in same-sex marriage file for divorce in Indiana, they have to pay a mandatory filing fee. In different counties, its amount depends on the case complexity and varies from $150 to $200. Also, you have to decide how to serve your spouse with a copy of a petition and summons. The service by a Sheriff will cost you approximately $30 depending on each county’s local rules. If a person married to a same-sex partner wants to get a divorce in Indiana while the spouse is out of state, the Sheriff will charge $60 for serving the papers. If you cannot afford to pay the required fees, you can ask the court to waive them. To do so, you will have to submit specific financial information that proves that you lack sufficient income or resources.
How long will it take
Divorce for same-sex couples in Indiana can be quick for uncontested cases or result in a long and tiresome divorce trial when spouses cannot reach an agreement. In all instances, there is a 60-day waiting period before you can get a final order.
The length of the divorce process also depends on the presence of minor children and considerable property. Contested cases can take several months to a few years, while uncontested ones last about three months.