Indiana Divorce Records
Divorces were first authorized by legislation in the Northwest Territory in 1795. They were to be granted through the General Court or Circuit Court. Generally this legislation remained in effect through Indiana’s territorial period (1800–1816), and courts having civil jurisdiction also heard divorce cases. In 1807 the territorial General Assembly also had power to grant divorces; in 1811 they passed two acts granting divorces. From 1817 to 1852 the Circuit Court in each county had jurisdiction over divorces, and the Indiana General Assembly could also grant divorces,through special legislation. These divorces have been abstracted:
Newland, M. E. E. Divorces Granted by the Indiana General Assembly Prior to 1852. Harlan, Indiana: the author, 1981. (Not at the Family History Library.)
The Court of Common Pleas in each county could grant divorces concurrently with its Circuit Court from 1853 to 1873. As Superior courts were established in various counties, they have had concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court. Divorces were entered in the appropriate court’s Order Book, and these books are being microfilmed through 1920 by the Family History Library. Original pleadings remain as they survive in each county. They may show the date of marriage, children, residencies and other helpful information. Write to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for more information, providing names and approximate date of divorce. The clerk’s office in Vanderburgh County has a separate Divorce Index, and the Washington County Indiana Historical Society has an abstract of early divorces:
Robertson, Bonnie. Divorce Records for Washington County, Indiana, 1814-1921. Salem, Indiana: Washington County Historical Society, 1995. (FHL book 977.222 V28d).
In the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog, divorce records are listed under:
INDIANA, [COUNTY]- DIVORCE RECORDS