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How does a legal separation work in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Firm News |

Like other states, Indiana has a process under which a couple can ask for a legal separation.

A legal separation works much like a divorce, but there are some important differences.

During a legal separation proceeding, a court will issue orders about child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and the division of a couple’s property and debts.

In other words, unless the couple can agree between themselves, a court will decide the same issues as if the couple were getting a divorce.

However, there are some important differences.

  • Perhaps most obviously, after a legal separation, the couple will remain legally married. They are not free to re-marry in this state. After a divorce, the couple is legally free to re-marry.
  • Legal separations in Indiana are temporary by design. They last only for one year. After that, the couple will either need to reconcile or go forward with a divorce. On the other hand, divorce orders remain in effect until the court changes them.
  • If either party at any point asks for a divorce, the court will go forward with a divorce.

Reasons for wanting a legal separation

Residents of the Indianapolis area may have several reasons for wanting a legal separation.

In some cases, they may have moral or religious objections to divorce and may be looking for a temporary alternative.

In other cases, a person may have emotional or other reasons for not wanting to end their marriage legally. They may wish to give their marriage another chance but still need some space and legal protection.

They may also worry about how a divorce will affect their children and want to take the process slowly for their sakes. Again, though, these parents may need more immediate legal protection.

Sometimes, there are financial or other practical reasons for a couple to stay married.

An Indianapolis resident can discuss with an experienced lawyer whether a legal separation is a good option for them.

They should also understand that if they go forward with a legal separation, they may still need help with other important legal issues like property division and child custody and support.