Legal Separation in Indiana

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Legal separation in Indiana is granted on two grounds. The spouses cite that it is intolerable to stay with each other and yet the marriage has to be maintained for some reasons. The court assesses both the conditions and grants legal separation if and only if the couple has the reasons to be separated.

The residency requirement to file legal separation in Indiana is six months prior to the date of filing the petition. The county in which the petition is filed, the petitioner should be a resident there for at least three months before filing the petition.

The couple who fulfills both the residency requirements is eligible to file a legal separation petition in Indiana. The legal separation laws of Indiana are complex and you will need professional help for drafting a petition as well as for filing it. The function of the court is to sort the issues such as childcare, property, tax, etc. while permitting the couple to stay apart while being married. The legal separation is granted in the form of court order and is legally binding.

The legal separation in Indiana is granted only for a year and after one year the couple automatically stays married or they have to decide whether they want to file for divorce and have to file a petition for the termination of marriage as living apart for one year is the basic requirement for seeking divorce in Indiana. If a spouse has already filed for divorce, the other spouse cannot file for legal separation.

While filing a petition, basic information about marriage such as the date of wedding, date of physical separation, names of the spouses, details about property, assets and debts along with the information about the children has to be put in the petition. The couple can split property, arrange for marital as well as child support, payments of support, debts and other duties and responsibilities of both the spouses.

After the legal separation is granted, the spouses remain married and cannot remarry unless they get the divorce.

Separation Agreement in Indiana:

As Indiana is one of the 41 states which recognize the legal separation documentation, it is always wise to prepare a separation agreement and get it reviewed by an attorney and notarized. You will need to file the agreement in the county courthouse.

  • A separation agreement consists of all the arrangements you have reached mutually regarding the childcare, spousal support, payment of debts and other important marital issues.
  • It protects your hard earned assets from your spouse till you get to the final step of divorce. Determine the marital and individual property and make the arrangements accordingly. If you are not careful then might end up paying more or getting less than you deserve.
  • The issues such as tax filings, tax exemptions, list of marital property and individual property, alimony, child support, custody and visitation, fate of the family house, decisions about the health care benefits, insurance, retirement plans and pension plans are all chalked down on the paper and verified by both the spouses.
  • A legal separation agreement is used as a blueprint or the decree for the division of all the marital responsibilities and duties as decided mutually by the couple and the court does not make changes in it when you divorce. However, if one of the spouses is not happy with the arrangements, he / she can file a petition for the reconsideration of the division and get it changed.
  • Getting a legal separation is one of the primary reason to get a separation agreement. The filing process is so similar to filing for divorce that most of the lawyers do not do legal separations. However, you can go for do-it-yourself documentation with a little help form a professional attorney.
In Indiana, legal separation allows a couple to stay apart but does not sever the marital ties and the couple can enjoy health care benefits, insurance coverage and other benefits on each other's property. It is still considered as marriage and the couple can seek either marital or individual counseling to give a chance to their marriage. In some cases, the court orders counseling and it is legally binding to go for it.

Thus, a couple can file for a legal separation in Indiana on the sole ground of irreconcilable differences, intolerable staying with the spouse or we can term it as irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Though Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, it offers the option of legal separation and the option of reconciliation is always open.

We can deduce that legal separation is best option when you are hoping for reconciliation, do not want joint debts or liabilities with you spouse but want to enjoy certain benefits of remaining married and the state of Indiana gives you the time and option for cooling off before you take the big step of divorce which cannot be withdrawn once filed.

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