Many people who decide to end their marriage think that getting a divorce is the only way to do so. In reality, there are several different methods to dissolve a marriage. Learn about the different methods you can take to separate from your spouse and understand Indiana’s specific laws regarding marriage dissolution.
Three Ways to End a Marriage
The three ways to end a marriage include divorce, annulment, and legal separation. Each method has different requirements and legal ramifications. Review the three methods below to determine which is best for you and your situation.
Divorce. A divorce is a legal decree that ends a marriage before the death of either spouse. Divorce proceedings in court may determine issues of child custody, child support, and division of assets. After a divorce is finalized, the two parties do not have any legal ties to one another and are free to remarry.
Annulment. An annulment declares that a marriage was null and void. While a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage like it was invalid from the start and, therefore, never existed. The end result of an annulment is the same as a divorce -- each party is single and free to remarry.
Legal separation. A legal separation is a judicially recognized separation between spouses. This does not officially end the marriage and as a result, parties are not allowed to remarry. In most states, it’s not sufficient for parties to simply live apart to constitute a legal separation. Typically, spouses must go to court to obtain a legally valid separation.
Indiana Divorce Requirements
In Indiana, divorce is legally referred to as “dissolution of marriage.” In order to obtain a divorce or dissolution of marriage in Indiana, spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months immediately preceding the filing.
To file for divorce in Indiana, one of the following criteria must be met:
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
A felony conviction by either party after entering into the marriage.
Impotency existing at the time of marriage.
Incurable insanity by either party for a time period of at least two years.
If spouses wish to obtain an annulment in Indiana, their marriage will be voided if it meets one of the following requirements:
Either individual is younger than 18 years of age, with a few exceptions.
Either party was mentally incompetent when the marriage was solemnized.
The marriage was brought about through fraud.
Spouses may obtain a decree of legal separation in Indiana if the conditions of the marriage make it intolerable for both parties to live together, yet the marriage should be maintained.
In an action for legal separation, either party may file a motion for any of the following:
Temporary support or custody of a child of the marriage.
Possession of property.
A protective order.
Hire Qualified Legal Representation
The divorce process can be confusing, complicated, and emotionally draining. Deciding to end your marriage is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make, and it’s never an easy one. During this time of stress, it’s important to hire a qualified and knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal process.
Since 2004, Hollingsworth Roberts Means, LLC has compassionately helped couples find effective solutions and assistance in understanding Indiana’s divorce laws. Our Carmel divorce attorneys can walk you through the entire divorce process, and we’re focused on providing effective and personalized solutions for you.
If you’re thinking of beginning the divorce process, contact Hollingsworth Roberts Means, LLC Attorneys at Law at (888) 211-3888 for a consultation with our lawyers to learn how we can help guide you toward the next (and best!) phase of your life.