Former St. Joseph County couple may divorce in Hamilton County


Dave Stafford for

A couple married 45 years who lived in St. Joseph County until the husband moved several months ago may divorce in Hamilton County, where he moved, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

In Joan Strozewski v. James Strozewski, 29A02-1412-DR-885, James Strozewski filed for divorce at the Noblesville courthouse, but Joan Strozewski filed a motion to transfer venue to the courthouse in South Bend. Hamilton Circuit Judge Paul Felix denied the motion, and wife filed an interlocutory appeal. She argued Hamilton County did not meet the criteria for preferred venue under Indiana Trial Rule 75(A).

“Indiana Code section 31-15-2-2 established a cause of action for the dissolution of marriage. Additionally, Indiana Code section 31-15-2-6 requires, in pertinent part, that, at the time of the filing of the dissolution petition, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of Indiana for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition and at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the county where the petition is filed for at least three months immediately preceding the filing,” Judge James Kirsch wrote for the panel.

“Here, James met the requirements,” Kirsch wrote. “Hamilton County is a preferred venue for this dissolution action, and although preferred venue may lie in more than one county, if an action is filed in a county of preferred venue, change of venue cannot be granted. … The trial court did not err in denying Joan’s motion to transfer venue.”