Indiana divorce details
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Indiana
The difference between uncontested and contested divorce is whether or not you are aimed to go through a divorce trial, and actually to contest your spouse’s views on some conditions of the separation.
So that an uncontested divorce is always cheaper and takes much less time, than a traditional contested divorce. But you should clearly understand, that in case you choose to get an agreed divorce, now it is only your responsibility, how successful the result will be.
If a couple can’t or simply doesn’t want to share time in order to achieve a constructive dialogue, their dissolution process becomes rather complicated. This kind of divorce is called a contested divorce, it almost always involves both spouses obtaining legal representation. If your issues are still difficult to resolve, the judge may appoint a mediator to help you communicate an informal. And only then if mediation fails the couple goes to the expensive and time-consuming trial. But in Indiana, the vast majority of couples never go to trial for their divorces.
Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
An uncontested divorce, also known as divorce by agreement, completely reflects the essence of its name. Its main condition is an ability of spouses to negotiate both civilized and productive without a court trial and often without an attorney. The spouses should reach an agreement about the most delicate issues of their separation and make a Written Settlement Agreement covering child-related issues, the division of property, assets and debts, spouse support issues and so on up to pets and other certain points which are most important for them.
Fortunately, thanks to the Internet it is no problem to achieve all the needed information, to get an online help and assistance or download all the needed forms and documents and maybe even go through all the dissolution process without the lawyer’s guidance.
Grounds for Divorce in Indiana
Speaking of reasons for divorce Hoosier belongs to mixed states for it officially recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds. In Indiana, it is typically for spouses to choose an uncontested divorce and, therefore, they agree to refer to the no-fault ground - so-called “irretrievable breakdown”. This cause is brief, rather abstract and you can avoid washing your dirty linen in public.
And the fault grounds for divorce in Indiana are:
- the felony conviction of one spouse (happened after the marriage)
- Incurable insanity (for 2 years and more).
Sometimes, people choose one of the fault grounds in the hope of gaining some benefits or an advantage in a trial.
Indiana Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
Residency requirements for Indiana divorce demand compliance with both state and county requirements. So to file for dissolution of marriage in particular Indiana court you or your spouse must:
- to be a resident of Indiana for 6 months and more before the date you file the divorce petition;
- to be stationed at a US military installation in Indiana for the same term.
- to be a resident (or stationed at a US military installation) of a certain county, where you want to file for divorce, for 3 last months.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana?
Surely, your own case may have some unique details. But we can distinguish 6 basic steps of an uncontested divorce, that work for all:
(The Petitioner is the initiator of the divorce, and the other spouse is called the Respondent.)
- First, the Petitioner chooses the correct forms kit according to the couple’s situation (whether children are involved or not etc.). The forms must be completed and printed.
- The Petitioner brings this paperwork to the court to file it with the clerk.
Notice, that all confidential information (bank account and social security numbers, tax records, PIN numbers, medical records and so on) in addition to one copy on regular white paper, is also photocopied onto light green paper.
Also, the Petitioner should keep Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, Settlement Agreement, and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage safety. These papers from the kit will be filed later.
- The court clerk stamps all the necessary forms. The petitioner is given a case number and the copies of the forms he/she should mail to the Respondent.
- In Indiana, the waiting period after filing the petition and before the final hearing is 60 days.
- After these 60 days it’s time to bring to the court the Waiver of Final Hearing, Settlement Agreement, and Dissolution of Marriage that were mentioned above.
- The judge reviews all these forms stamped by the clerk. If the judge claims that no hearing is necessary, the final divorce order is signed.
The petitioner and the respondent get official copies by mail.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Indiana
Many people on the verge of a divorce feel that they have already paid in full. Thus it's no wonder that some people who don`t need their divorce to be a huge show, are looking for ways to save a little when drafting a divorce, without involving lawyers or mediators.
In short, you can fill out the forms yourself checking your state's court website for divorce papers or using an online divorce service. Therefore, an example of an uncontested divorce that is described above can accurately be defined as do-it-yourself divorce.
The main answer you should give yourself, pondering a DIY divorce option, is whether you are a good candidate for this procedure or not. If the spouses have a lot of personal problems and financial issues that they can not solve on their own (without a lawyer) but they still seek to an uncontested and DIY divorce, this can have serious negative consequences for their post-divorce life. Remember that all the tiniest details of the property division, child custody and many others big and small issues are only your business in that case. A lot depends on responsibility, mindfulness, and honesty of both spouses.
You are the best candidate for DIY divorce, if:
- you and your spouse made a decision about dissolution agreed and as peaceful as possible. That is you don't have serious disagreements about property, custody etc, can communicate respectfully and are ready to compromise.
- you have no children. Otherwise you might still need help of a legal assistant to figure out some details about support and shared parenting time.
- both of you are employed and support yourselves.
- you have neither lots of assets nor lots of debts.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
The basic pay for any type of divorce is equal to the cost for filing the petition (filing fee). You pay it officially in your county court and it can vary by the county about between $130 and $160, but should not exceed $200.
In the cheapest kinds of cases, couples can agree on their separation terms before filing for a divorce, but with hiring an attorney (even for the uncontested divorce) the cost is much higher. In Indiana, the average attorney’s rate is about $200 per hour.
And the average cost of divorce of all types is $11,400 - quite an impressive amount.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Indiana?
60-days waiting period in Indiana means that there must be 60 days between the filing for divorce and the final hearing. So you cannot get divorced earlier even if your case is uncontested and super-simple.
Surely, the case may be delayed. Maybe you have a contested divorce and need time to reach an agreement, and maybe court dockets are crowded or smth else. So often it is needed from four to six months on average to finalize the dissolution.
Papers & Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Indiana
Here is the basic list of forms you need to file in case of the divorce by agreement:
- Appearance Form (TCM-TR3.1-7)
This form is common for all divorce cases. It contains all the basic information about you that must be known by the court.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (PS-31152-1)
The petition provides important information about the marriage (data on the husband, wife, any children, separate or community property and child or spousal support.) This form is also common for everyone who files a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.
- Summons (TCM-TR4.1-2)
The one more common form. It informs the other spouse that divorce has been filed and he/she should respond.
- Verified Waiver of Final Hearing (PS-31152-2)
It tells the court that the spouses are agreed on all the divorce's terms and are ready to attend a final hearing.
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (PS-31152-9)
This form is used to agree on the terms and conditions of the assets and debts of the divorce.
- Appearance Not for Public Access Form (TCM-TR3.1-4)
This form is filed only by spouses who have children under age 18. It provides the Social Security with numbers of all family members involved, in cases involving child support.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Indiana
After filing a petition you should serve your spouse with copies of divorce paperwork. In Indiana you can do this by certified mail, private process server or by hiring a sheriff’s deputy.
The Summons divorce form automatically tells the Court Clerk that you would like that office to handle service by mailing the divorce papers to the Respondent by certified mail. All you have to do as the Petitioner is to mail a copy of the Petition to your spouse.
And if it's you a Defendant, remember that you must respond to the petition within a short time, better not more than 30 days. Otherwise, you can even lose your right to argue your position on some significant issues.
Online Divorce in Indiana
Now, online divorce companies are becoming ever more popular way for couples to end their marriage, mainly speaking of uncontested divorce, of course.
Some companies are the do-it-yourself type where you just download the forms, others prepare your documents, many of the top websites, like this one, will review the forms. Also we can provide and explain detailed information on your divorce process.
What’s really good, such websites prepare forms for you based on information you provide.
What means that your divorce documents are automatically customized to your state and county, your children, your income and other factors in your case just after a short interview. and It is conveniently cause you haven’t seek for all the information and nuances by yourself. You access your completed ready to print and sign divorce forms, without lengthy completion or delivery periods. And finally, an important advantage of online divorce is its low cost, that vary from $130.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Indiana
In Indiana, to regulate the child support calculation there is The Indiana Child Support Guidelines, created by state legislature. This guideline considers an amount of children and spouses’ gross income.
But it doesn't mean that you must use this particular amount calculated by the guideline. If you and your spouse agree that another amount should be better for your child, the judge will probably accept it. But the main principle is that a children support must be in the best interest of the children themselves.
In an uncontested divorce the parents can both decide if they want legal and physical custody to be shared or solery. Legal custody is essentially important for making decisions about healthcare, education, religion and all the aspects of upbringing, so parents often share it.
Speaking of physical custody (the right to provide a primary residency for a child) it is usually granted for one of the parents, while the other has right of visitation - so-called “sole custody with visitation”. In a shared physical custody situation, the child spends almost equal time with both parents.
Rules for Spousal Support in Indiana
Indiana does not recognize alimony, because it is supposed that both of ex-spouses should have a job and support themselves after divorce.
But there is a Spousal Maintenance in Indiana. This is payment which is usually paid out by one ex-spouse to another in case that the last one is disabled and can’t work. The spousal maintenance payments can be deducted payments made can generally be deducted from the non-disabled spouse's federal income taxes.
Division of Property in Indiana
Indiana is an equitable property division state. So the court divides property in the way it sees as most fair, and not necessarily equally.
Discussing a property division you should, first of all, understand what property is supposed to be defined as marital and what is not. In general, all the property besides inheritances or gifts to one spouse only is officially marital.
Those assets that spouses had prior to marriage belong to the separate property.
But in some cases spouses commingle theis separate and marital property in some ways during the married life. In such situation the court may divide both separate and marital assets in the manner that it supposes most fair.
Division of Debt in Indiana
The division of debts in Indiana is quite specific. Despite the fact that Indiana belongs to equitable property states, not to the community property ones, when it comes to the division of debts everything is the other way around. The court divides debts due to the community property states' rule, and the division is 50-50. Unfortunately, this can be very unfair to one of the spouses. You may need to seek a lawyer’s help to convince a judge not to split the debts in that way.
Divorce Mediation in Indiana
Divorce mediation is a process designed to help a couple to negotiate and reach an agreement on some important financial issues and other conditions of the divorce. During the mediation session the couple works with a qualified and neutral mediator (whether an attorney or not, but if the mediator is an attorney he/she cannot be hired by one of these spouses). The role of the mediator is not to offer legal advice but to facilitate open and honest discussion.
In Indiana, divorce mediation is not compulsory, so neither spouse must attend these meetings if they don't see any sense. But in many counties, mediation still can be mandated by the judge, especially in any cases involving disputes about children issues like custody, parenting time etc.
How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Indiana
In Indiana, if the Petitioner cannot contact a Defendant who doesn't respond to the petition, he or she should conduct a "diligent search". The initiator of divorce must convince a judge that though he/she tried hard but still is unable to get an answer from the missing spouse.
After that, there is a Service by Publication. In that way, the court notifies the missing spouse of the divorce by publication in a local newspaper.
There is no need for proof that the Respondent saw the publication, and the divorce can be finalize without him or her.
In general, such a divorce finalizing (as one described above) is called a default. Its formula is simple:
- The Petitioner serve the Respondent with all the necessary paperwork.
- Whether the Respondent cannot be found, or the Respondent obviously is served with the documents but just hadn’t give an answer for 60 days of the waiting period - the default divorce can be requested by the Petitioner.
- The petitioner prepares the Summons for publication (it must be signed by the court clerk). The Summons includes the information that the Respondent must answer within 30 days after the publication.
- If he/she still doesn’t - the court can enter a judgment for default divorce. In this case, the Petitioner, typically, gains everything that he/she claimed in the original petition.
Annulment of the Marriage in Indiana
In Indiana, if the marriage is illegal due to the state laws it should be annulled. So there is no need to get a divorce. The annulment procedure in Indiana is easier than the marriage dissolution and it doesn´t require any lengthy trial. The spouses should provide the court clerk with the marriage certificate.
There are three grounds to annul the Indiana marriage:
- One of the spouse was under the age of 18 when married.
- The previous marriage of one of the spouses is not terminated yet.
- The spouses turned out to be closer relatives than second cousins.
Legal Separation in Indiana
Unlike some other states, in Indiana, legal separation and dissolution of marriage is not the same thing.
While the divorce officially ends the marriage, the legal separation gives it the one more chance. What does it mean? A Legal separation is an option that allows the couple to take the kind of a “gap year” for their marriage. Some people need it to make a decision whether they want to solve their spousal problems and remain being married, or finally get a divorce.
Though the legal separation doesn't actually end the marriage it still can declare some conditions related to children or property, just like a real divorce does it.
But notice, that due to Indiana law, the legal separation cannot last longer than a year.
Same-Sex Divorce in Indiana
Same-sex marriage, and therefore the same-sex divorce, are legally recognized in the state of Indiana since October 6, 2014. Since 2015, both male-female and same-gender couples have an eligibility to marry, and divorce in any US state. The whole divorce procedure, with all options and details, is identical.
Military Divorce in Indiana
First, grounds for military divorce are the same as for a civilian one. The main difficulty is usually to serve the military spouse with all paperwork. If one of the spouses is on duty and he/she is unavailable for court hearing, so in some cases, the court proceeding may be delayed. Speaking of the property division there is the USFSPA (Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act). which is designed to protect the interests of military spouses. It provides 10/10 rule.According to this statement, the retirement payments of the military member cannot be divided unless the couple has been married 10 years or more (during the military spouse has been on active duty).
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Indiana
The felony conviction is one of the fault grounds for divorce in Indiana. That means that courts consider this fault in dividing the marital estate and child support determinations.
But despite the fact that a felony conviction can make a successful outcome in a contested divorce case, you still can get an uncontested (a default) divorce as well.
Indiana Divorce Filing Fee
The filing fee is a basic payment for filing an original petition you must pay even in case of do-it-yourself divorce. It varies between $132-152 in different counties and so you should check your local court to know the current cost. This fee can be paid: in cash; by check; by money order; by credit card.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
In some cases you can file a Petition for free or to pay only a part of the fee. You should request for a so-called fee waiver to the Indiana State Supreme Court for this.
This option is provided as support for indigent citizens, so there must be oficial proofs of your low income, to waive a filing fee.
How We Can Help
We can help you with almost any uncontested divorce. After a short online interview, we will have all the needed information about your case and we will provide you with a personalized divorce kit, that takes into account the type of divorce and other details.
We eager to make your dissolution of marriage as easy and affordable as possible.
Let the divorce be the right and confident step into the future, not the nightmare.
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