Indiana laws provide for legal separation and divorce. Each process serves a unique purpose. State laws do not require a period of legal separation before a couple can file for divorce.
Is Separation Required Before Divorce in Indiana?
A legal separation proceeding allows a couple to stay legally married while they decide whether they want to remain married or file for a divorce. To grant this petition, Indiana courts must find cause that conditions in the marriage have become so intolerable that living under one roof impossible for the couple. However, despite this, the legal marriage will be maintained.
For a petition for a legal separation to be granted successfully, one spouse must have been a resident of Indiana for a minimum of six months. Additionally, one spouse must have been a resident of the county where they filed the petition for at least three months.
A legal separation is ideal for couples who are willing to work out their differences while living apart. Couples who are unsure about getting a divorce can file for legal separation to give themselves time to work out important issues and determine if divorce is really the next step for them. A legal separation decree also includes provisions for spousal and child support, custody, and visitation rights.
Because the marriage still exists during a legal separation, the couple can submit a Separation Agreement which contains the details of the division and maintenance of the couple’s assets and liabilities, in other words, their properties and debts. A family law or divorce lawyer can help couples reach a separation agreement that works for them. Remaining married during this period also means that joint health insurance policies, tax benefits, social security, and pension benefits remain in place.
In Indiana, legal separation must not last longer than one year. After this period, the couple must decide if they want to stay married or file for divorce. Either spouse can file for divorce proceedings during the legal separation period, which effectively ends the legal separation.
Legal Separation Before Divorce: Is It a Good Idea?
While legal separation is not a requirement for a divorce in Indiana, experts recommend that couples enter a period of separation. This will give them a chance to cool off and make sound decisions when it comes to staying married or eventually getting a divorce. A period of separation can also provide the court with evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, which is a reason to grant the divorce petition.
Legal separation is a process that contains complicated legal aspects that requires the expertise of a good lawyer. You will be required to submit several forms and official documents, as well as make sure all information submitted to court is current and accurate. Working with a lawyer can help couples create a sound legal separation contract that clears up both their rights and obligations during this process and makes it smoother for all parties involved. Get in touch with your divorce attorney in Terre Haute today.