Like all other states in the United States, Indiana allows married couples to file a no-fault divorce by declaring an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Pursuing an at-fault divorce in Indiana is a bit more unique. While many states recognize adultery as one of the traditional grounds for pursuing an at-fault divorce, Indiana does not.
Indiana has only three established grounds for an at-fault divorce, and infidelity is not one of them. However, it can still have an impact on matters related to divorce.
How does adultery influence a divorce in Indiana?
Adultery can influence an equitable property distribution, particularly if one spouse spends marital assets on another person outside the marriage. The courts will consider the dissipation of marital assets before awarding each spouse a fair and just share. Dissipation happens when a spouse wastes, spends or gives away marital property in a way that violates the property rights of the other spouse. They use marital assets for extramarital affairs. An adulterous dissipation of assets can include the following:
- Your spouse used money from your joint bank account to buy gifts for the person with whom they are having an affair or take them out on dates.
- Your spouse spent marital assets to take the person they cheated with on a luxurious trip.
If you can prove your spouse used your marital assets to fund their affair, you may receive more in the divorce settlement agreement. Extramarital affairs can also influence child custody, but only if it goes against the child’s best interests.
What if your spouse used separate assets for their affair?
Another unique aspect of Indiana family law is that it does not consider property acquired before marriage as separate property. The state applies the one-pot theory of marital assets. The properties and assets you and your spouse own separately or together are all marital property.