If you live in Indiana, you may assume that you can simply file for divorce in your local county court. But, this is not necessarily the case. In order to file for divorce in Indiana, you (or your spouse) must meet two separate residency requirements.
Establishing Residency for Purposes of Divorce in Indiana
1. Establishing State Residency
Under Section 31-15-2-6(a) of the Indiana Code, the first residency requirement for divorce has to do with in-state residency. You can only file for divorce in Indiana if either you or your spouse has:
- Been a resident of Indiana for at least the last six months immediately preceding the date of your divorce petition; or
- Been stationed at a United States military installation in Indiana for at least the last six months.
2. Establishing County Residency
Section 31-15-2-6(b) of the Indiana Code also requires proof of county residency. You may only file for divorce in a county in which either you or your spouse has been a resident or stationed at a U.S. military installation for at least the last three months.
Let’s look at some examples:
- You and your spouse live together in Carmel, and you have lived in your current home for at least six months. In this scenario, you are eligible (and only eligible) to file for divorce in Hamilton County.
- You and your spouse recently separated. You still live at your family home in Hamilton County (where you have lived for at least six months), but your spouse moved to neighboring Madison County. If it has been less than three months since your spouse moved out, you are still only eligible for file in Hamilton.
- You and your spouse have been living apart for a year or longer. You stayed in the family home in Carmel while your spouse rented an apartment in Madison County. Since you have both been living in your respective counties for more than three months (and in Indiana for longer than six months), you could file for divorce in either Hamilton or Madison County.
What if Neither My Spouse nor I Satisfy the Residency Requirements?
What if you and your spouse moved to Indiana or within the last six months or moved across county lines within the last three months? If neither you nor your spouse satisfies the residence requirements for divorce in Indiana, your options will depend upon your unique individual circumstances. For example, it may be the case that you are still eligible to file for divorce in the state from which you moved. But, it could also be that your best option is to wait until you or your spouse meets the requirements for residency.
Speak with Carmel, IN Divorce Lawyer Joshua R. Hains
If you have questions about filing for divorce in Indiana and would like to speak with an attorney, you can contact Hains Law, LLC in Carmel for a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, we invite you to give us a call at (317) 588-2883 or request an appointment online today.