When filing for divorce in Indiana, you have the option to file for either a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. While many states have done away with the concept of “marital fault,” Indiana law still identifies a number of fault-based grounds that can be used to file for divorce.
So, which option should you choose? For some spouses, the answer will be fairly straightforward. If none of the following are relevant to your situation, your only option will be to file for a no-fault divorce:
As you can see, the fault-based grounds for divorce in Indiana are quite limited. You may have also noticed that adultery is not included on the list. Unlike some other states that have retained fault-based grounds for divorce, infidelity does not constitute marital fault (for legal purposes) in Indiana.
If you have fault-based grounds to file for divorce, should you use them? The answer largely depends upon your personal circumstances. There are certain benefits to filing for a fault-based divorce. For example, Indiana judges can consider marital fault in dividing the couple’s marital estate and in awarding spousal maintenance (alimony). Fault can also factor into child support determinations.
However, filing for a fault-based divorce can also lead to additional hostility and legal battles, so anyone considering a fault-based divorce filing will need to carefully way the costs and benefits involved.
If you choose to file for a no-fault divorce, you must represent to the court that your marriage has experienced an “irretrievable breakdown.” While your spouse can technically dispute such a claim, a disagreement over whether to get divorced will generally itself be evidence that the marriage has become irretrievably broken.
It is important to note that a “no-fault” divorce does not necessarily mean an “uncontested” divorce. If you file for a no-fault divorce, your spouse can (and usually will) still contest matters such as property division, alimony, child support and child custody. In fact, alimony is one area where adultery can factor into a divorce in Indiana. Whether you ultimately decide to file for a fault-based or no-fault divorce, unless you have no children and only limited assets, you should begin educating yourself about what you can expect during your divorce in the weeks and months to come.
For more information about preparing for a contested (fault or no-fault) divorce, we encourage you to read:
If you live in the Carmel area and are contemplating a divorce, you can contact Hains Law, LLC for a free consultation. To speak with attorney Joshua R. Hains in confidence, call us at (317) 688-1305 or request an appointment online today.