How to File for Divorce in Indiana
Making a decision to file for divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a spouse will ever have to make. The procedure for filing for divorce must be done correctly or there will be repercussions that could last for years. A knowledgeable attorney can make the divorce process as painless as possible so that spouses can go on with their lives.
Residency Requirements in IndianaBefore spouses can file for divorce in Indiana, one of them must meet residency requirements. A spouse must have lived in Indiana for six months before filing the divorce petition. Additionally, the spouse must have lived in the county of residence for three months.
Is Indiana a No-Fault State or a Grounds State?Indiana is both a no-fault and a grounds-based state. A spouse can file for a no-fault divorce by claiming that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Filing a no-fault divorce is one way to get divorced quickly. Instead of filing a no-fault divorce, however, a spouse can file by claiming the following grounds: a) Impotence of partner; b) Incurable insanity for two years or more, or c) A felony conviction.
Divorce in Indiana is also referred to as dissolution of marriage. If a spouse uses grounds for divorce, one of the three grounds must be proven by sufficient evidence. It is much easier to use no-fault divorce because proving that the marriage is irretrievably broken is relatively simple.
What's the Next Step in Filing for Divorce?After residency requirements have been met and the spouse decides whether to file a no-fault or grounds-based divorce, the next step is to draft the required papers. The required papers are a: a) Summons; b) Petition for Dissolution of Marriage; c) Child Support Obligation Worksheet if minor children are involved; d) Financial Declaration; e) Agreement, if spouses can resolve their issues; f) Verified Waiver of Final Hearing if there is a divorce agreement , and g) Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
These forms have to be filled out correctly or they will have to be amended at a later date, which delays the divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can prepare these forms correctly. It's also crucial to have a lawyer draft a divorce agreement because the lawyer will know what needs to be in the agreement. Spouses who draft their own agreements usually leave important clauses out, and as a result, they do not get everything they're entitled to.
Filing and Serving the Divorce PetitionSpouses can file their own forms or their lawyers can file for them. A filing fee has to be paid at the time of filing, so parties need to check with their local county clerk's office to find out how much the fee is. Filing must be done in the county of residence.
Service of papers can be done by several methods. Indiana allows service by certified mail, which is not allowed in many other states. Service can also be made upon the other spouse by a sheriff or by a process server.
Is There a Waiting Period Before a Divorce is Granted?Yes -- there is a 60-day waiting period before a court will grant a divorce. Of course, a divorce could take much longer, depending on the issues involved and whether the case will settle or go to trial. A divorce attorney can help move the case through the court system more quickly than an unrepresented party.
During the time the case is in court, the judge can issue temporary orders for custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support and any protective orders if needed. These orders are issued during what is called a preliminary hearing. When the divorce is finalized, the judge will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
What Issues Can be Resolved During a Divorce?Divorce can resolve many issues between spouses. Some of these issues include: a) Child custody;
b) Child support; c) Visitation; d) Spousal maintenance; e) Life and health insurance; f) Protective orders, if needed; g) Deciding who pays for extracurricular programs; h) Division of assets; i) Division of debts; and j) Possible payment of legal fees by the other party.
The wife is allowed to take back the use of her maiden name if she chooses to do so.