Divorce in Indiana: Filing, Proceedings, and Settlement

divorce

In Indiana, divorce doesn’t have to be as stressful as you would think. The state has a no-fault grounds for divorce, which means neither spouse is to blame for the separation. Both parties agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken.

Most couples who file for divorce on no-fault grounds seek an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce gives the couple a chance to go through the proceedings as quickly and as amicably as possible. It doesn’t require evidence proving which spouse is at fault.

Divorce in Indiana is called a dissolution of marriage. The process will nullify the marital relationship and divide the couple’s assets and debts.

If they have children, the couple will need to settle concerns of custody and child support. Alimony will also be discussed if one spouse will be unable to support themselves after the divorce.

Requirements

You or your spouse must be an Indiana resident for at least 6 months, and a resident of your county for at least three.

All Indiana divorces require the following forms:

  • Summons
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Financial Declaration
  • Child Support Obligation Worksheet (for those with minor children)

Filing

File your forms with the clerk of court’s office in your county. Call or research ahead to know about the rules in your county office because there are slightly different requirements in each.

Print documents with sensitive information on light green paper. This includes tax records, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, child abuse records, and medical records.

You can resolve the issues of child custody and support, alimony, and property division ahead. Look for a law firm offering mediation to help you draw up a divorce settlement agreement to speed up the filing process. You can request for a bifurcated divorce if you have a settlement agreement. Here, a judge will review the terms of the agreement to ensure that it’s fair for both parties.

Serving the Paperwork

Divorce

After filing, serve your spouse their copy of the divorce papers. This notifies your spouse that you have filed for divorce, giving them a chance to file an answer or a counterclaim.

A sheriff or process server must hand-deliver the documents to your spouse’s house. You can also file through certified mail.

Finalizing the Divorce

You have to wait 60 days for your divorce to be finalized. This is mandatory even if you have a divorce settlement agreement. After 60 days, you can submit the final paperwork to the court. This should include the Dissolution of Marriage, Settlement Agreement, and Waiver of Final Hearing.

You also need child support and financial documents if you have minor children. Lastly, give the clerk two self-addressed stamped envelopes. One is for you and the other is for your spouse or their attorney.

The judge will review all the documents and sign the final divorce order if they think that a hearing isn’t necessary.

Between the initial filing and final hearing, both parties must exchange financial information. This is necessary for settling the asset and debt division, alimony, and child support. At any point in the entire process, you and your spouse can seek legal advice from a mediator or your family lawyer.

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