How Long Can a Divorce Be Postponed in Indiana?
By Beverly Bird
For all practical purposes, Indiana is a no-fault state. Its statutes don't include the typical fault grounds of adultery, abandonment or cruelty. If you file for divorce in this state, your only options are to use the no-fault grounds and tell the court your marriage is irretrievably broken, or your spouse is impotent, insane or convicted of a felony. If you file on grounds of irretrievable breakdown, your spouse can't stop the divorce without your consent. Under some circumstances, however, you or your spouse may be able to postpone the proceedings for a little while.
Indiana has a statutory waiting period for divorce: 60 days from the date you file your petition. This doesn't mean your divorce automatically becomes final in two months, however. It just means you can't be legally divorced until at least two months have passed, even if all your issues have been resolved. You can use this built-in time period to slow down your divorce if you're not sure you want to go through with it. You can wait at least two months to officially ask the court to postpone your case or start moving forward with the proceedings.
If you and your spouse want to attempt a reconciliation, or if your spouse denies your marriage is irretrievably broken, either of you can ask the court to order a continuance of the proceedings to give you time to go for counseling. If the judge agrees, he'll postpone your matter for 45 days. After this period of time, if one of you still wants the divorce, you can file a motion, asking the court to grant it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your divorce will be final immediately, especially if the 60-day waiting period hasn't passed. However, it will clear the way for the divorce to move forward. If neither of you files such a motion, the court will dismiss your divorce entirely after another 45 days, or 90 days from the date the continuance was granted.
Time to Prepare
You might be sure you want to move forward with the divorce, but preparing your case is taking longer than you anticipated. Maybe your spouse isn't cooperating with discovery – the exchange of information necessary to document the financial details of your marriage. Maybe you need a little more time to get your home appraised or have a custody evaluation completed. If the court has already scheduled a hearing, you can file a motion for a continuance. You can ask the court to delay the hearing for a period of time, explaining why you need a postponement and requesting a new date. However, there's no guarantee the judge will grant your request, or how much additional time he might give you even if he approves the postponement.
Active Military Duty
If you or your spouse is on active duty with the military, federal law takes care of a postponement for you. The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act allows the military spouse to request a stay or postponement of the divorce proceedings for the entire time he's on active duty and up to 60 days afterward. This allows the servicemember to concentrate on serving his country without worrying about a divorce.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.