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Indiana Mediation Law

Question: ASK THE MEDIATOR: What is the new divorce mediation law all about?

Answer: When the dissolution law was recodified by the 1997 legislature, four new mediation sections were added. Three are statewide, and provide that in any dissolution, separation, support, custody or visitation proceeding, at any time the court issues an order (other than ex parte), the judge "shall determine" whether mediation should be required, considering the ability to pay and whether "mediation is appropriate in helping the parties resolve their disputes." IC 31-15-9.4-1, 31-16-6.4-1, and 31-17-2.4-1.

House Bill 1092 also set up a two-year pilot program for Allen County. Beginning on January 1, 1998, Allen County will have a $20 add-on to the $100 divorce filing fee, and establish an ADR fund. Funds will be targeted for tough custody cases, utilizing both attorney-mediators and mental health professional-mediators.


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The Indiana court presumes that equal division of community property between the spouses is "just and reasonable." However, courts may award one spouse more of the marital estate, depending on the contribution each spouse made to the property's acquisition, if the property was acquired before marriage or through gift or inheritance, the economic circumstances of each spouse (if one spouse squandered community assets during marriage), and the current income and earning potential of each spouse.
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