Indiana divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Indiana
The difference between uncontested and contested divorce is whether or not you decide to go through a divorce trial and actually contest your spouse’s views on certain conditions of the separation.
An uncontested divorce is usually much cheaper and takes less time than a traditional contested divorce. But you should clearly understand that if you decide to choose this option, it will be your responsibility to how successful the results are.
If a couple fail to achieve a constructive dialogue, their dissolution process becomes rather complicated. This kind of divorce is referred to as a contested divorce, and it almost always involves both spouses obtaining legal representation. If your issues are difficult to resolve, the judge may appoint a mediator to help you negotiate. Only if the mediation fails will you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming trial. However, the vast majority of couples in Indiana never go through this type of divorce.
Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
An uncontested divorce reflects the essence of its name: the spouses simply have nothing to contest. Its main condition is that the spouses have negotiated and come to an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. They should create a Written Settlement Agreement covering all the issues such as: child custody, division of property and debts, spousal support, and others.
Fortunately, you can complete the entire process with help from an online service. You can get all the documents that you need online and maybe even go through the entire dissolution process without the help of an attorney.
Grounds for Divorce in Indiana
Indiana is considered to be a mixed state as it officially recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Uncontested divorces are the most popular in Indiana, so many couples agree to a no-fault ground - or so-called “irretrievable breakdown”.
There are several fault grounds for divorce in Indiana:
- Felony conviction of one of the spouses (occurred after marriage)
- Incurable insanity (for 2 years or more).
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Indiana Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
Residency requirements for Indiana divorce demand compliance with both state and county requirements. So to file for divorce in a particular Indiana court, you or your spouse must:
- be a resident of Indiana for 6 months and more before the date you file the divorce petition;
- be stationed at a US military installation in Indiana for the same term.
- be a resident (or stationed at a US military installation) of a certain county, where you want to file for divorce, for the 3 months.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
There are 6 basic steps to file for an uncontested divorce in Indiana:
(The Petitioner is the initiator of the divorce, and the other spouse is the Respondent.)
- The Petitioner completes the required documents to file for divorce.
- The Petitioner brings the completed paperwork to court and files it with the clerk.
Notice, that all confidential information (bank account, social security number, tax records, PIN numbers, or medical records) in addition to one copy on regular white paper, must also be photocopied onto light green paper.
Also, the Petitioner should keep the Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, Settlement Agreement, and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage safely. These documents will be filed later.
- The court clerk stamps all the necessary forms. The petitioner is given a case number along with copies of the forms that they 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 (as mentioned above).
- The judge reviews all the forms stamped by the clerk. If the judge claims that no hearing is necessary, the final divorce order is signed.
Both the petitioner and the respondent will receive official copies in the mail.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Indiana
A divorce can be quite costly, especially when you have to hire attorneys. In order to save money, many people have been turning to the option of a DIY divorce as this process does not involve the presence of lawyers or mediators. You can complete all the required documents by visiting your state court’s website or using an online divorce service.
You should first consider if you are a good candidate for a DIY divorce. If you and your spouse have many issues that unable to be resolved, a DIY divorce can have serious negative consequences on your post-divorce life. It is remember to keep in mind that all the issues regarding property division, child custody, and many others should be first resolved amicably between you and your spouse.
You are a good candidate for a DIY divorce if:
- You and your spouse have made a decision regarding the dissolution and have amicably agreed on all the issues of divorce.
- You have no children. Otherwise, you may still need help from a legal assistant to figure out some details regarding support and shared parenting time.
- Both of you are employed and support yourselves.
- You don’t have much assets or debts that need to be divided.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
The initial cost of a divorce is equal to the filing fee of your county court, which can vary between $130 - $160.
Uncontested divorces are the cheapest types of cases as the couples agree on the separation terms before filing for divorce, removing the requirement to hire an attorney. In Indiana, the average hourly cost to hire one is $200.
Overall, the average cost of divorce for all types is $11,400, which is quite an impressive amount.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Indiana?
In Indiana, there is a 60-day waiting period between after you file for divorce and before the final hearing. You cannot get divorced earlier even if your case is uncontested and relatively simple.
There are cases where your divorce may be delayed. This can happen when you have a contested divorce and need time to reach an agreement or if the court dockets are crowded. Oftentimes, there is an average wait time of 4 - 6 months before the dissolution is finalized.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Indiana
After you file the petition, you need to serve your spouse with all the copies of the divorce paperwork. You can do this either through certified mail, private server, or by hiring a sheriff’s deputy.
The Summons divorce form automatically informs the Court Clerk that you would like the office to handle the service of mailing the divorce papers to the Respondent through certified mail. All you have to do as the Petitioner is mail a copy of the Petition to your spouse.
And as the defendant, you must remember to respond to the petition within 30 days. Otherwise, you risk losing your right to argue your position on some significant issues.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Indiana
Here is a basic list of the forms you need to file for divorce in Indiana:
- Appearance Form (TCM-TR3.1-7)
This form is common for all divorce cases. It contains all the basic information regarding you that the court must know.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (PS-31152-1)
The petition provides important information about the marriage (information 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)
This form informs the other spouse that a divorce has been filed and that they should respond to the petition.
- Verified Waiver of Final Hearing (PS-31152-2)
This informs the court that the spouses have agreed on all the terms of divorce 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 the age of 18. It contains the Social Security numbers of all the family members involved in cases involving child support.
Online Divorce in Indiana
Nowadays, online divorce has become a popular option for many couples in terminating their marriage, mainly when it comes to uncontested divorces.
Online services help you in the process of preparing the required paperwork to file with the court. Many of the top services, like us, will also review and make sure the forms are accurate and completed correctly. We can also provide and explain detailed information regarding your divorce process.
After just a short online interview, we customize the packet of paperwork that is designed to fit the needs of your individual case. This is extremely convenient as there is no need for you to seek out additional information or figure out the nuances by yourself. You will gain access to the completed and ready documents to print and sign without any length completion or delivery periods. Furthermore, all of this can be done for a low cost starting from $130.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Indiana
In Indiana, child support is calculated using The Indiana Child Support Guidelines, created by state legislature. It takes into account the number of children and the spouse’s total gross income.
However, it is not always required the guidelines to calculate the amount of child support. If you and your spouse are able to agree separately on the amount for your child, the judge will take it into consideration and most likely grant it. However, keep in mind that the main guiding principle should be in the best interest of the child.
In an uncontested divorce, both parents can decide on whether they want legal and physical custody to be sole or shared. Legal custody is essentially having the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s life such as: healthcare, education, religion, and all other aspects of the child’s upbringing.
In terms of physical custody (the right to provide primary residency for the child), it is usually granted to only one of the parents, while the other has right of visitation - or so-called “sole custody with visitation”. In shared physical custody, the child spends time equally with both parents.
Rules for Spousal Support in Indiana
Indiana does not recognize alimony as it is assumed that both spouses have a job and are able to financially support themselves after a divorce.
However, there is something referred to as spousal maintenance in Indiana. This is payment that is paid by one of the spouses to the other in case where the latter one is disabled and unable to work. Spousal maintenance payments 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. This means that the court divides property the way it sees as most fair, and may not necessarily be equal.
Before dividing property, you must understand and distinguish between marital and separate property. In general, marital property are all property, inheritances, and gifts that the spouses received during the marriage. Separate property refers to everything that that the spouses individually had prior to marriage.
In some cases, spouses may have a difficult time separating between marital and separate property. In cases like this, the court may make the division in a manner that it deems most fair.
Division of Debt in Indiana
The division of debts in Indiana is quite specific. Although Indiana belongs to equitable property states, it is different when it comes to the division of debts. The court divides debts according to the community property states’ rule, and the division is not 50-50. Unfortunately, this may be very unfair to one of the spouses. You may need to seek a lawyer’s help to convince a judge to not split the debts in this manner.
Divorce Mediation in Indiana
Divorce mediation is a process designed to help a couple negotiate and reach an agreement in regards to the issues of divorce. The qualified mediator does not offer legal advice but helps facilitate open and honest discussion between the two spouses.
In Indiana, divorce mediation is not compulsory, so neither spouse must attend these meetings if they don't see any sense to them. But in many counties, mediation may still be mandated by the judge, especially in any cases involving disputes regarding issues around child custody.
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How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Indiana
In Indiana, if the Petitioner is unable to locate their spouse, they must first conduct a “diligent search”. The initiator of the divorce must provide proof to the judge that they tried their best to locate their missing spouse.
If they are still locate their spouse, they may request a Service by Publication. This way, the court will notify the missing spouse of the divorce through the local newspaper.
There is no need for proof that the Respondent saw the publication as the divorce can be finalized without their presence.
There are several steps to filing for a default divorce:
- The Petitioner serves the Respondent with all the necessary paperwork.
- The Respondent has 60 days to respond back to the Petition. After the 60 days and there is still no response, the Petitioner may request a default divorce.
- 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 the Respondent still fails to respond, the court can enter a judgment for default divorce. In this case, the Petitioner is typically granted everything that they claim in the original petition..
Annulment of the Marriage in Indiana
Annulment is the process that recognizes a marriage as being void or invalid. The procedure in Indiana is easier than a marriage dissolution as it does not require any length trials. The spouses must still provide the court with their marriage certificate.
There are three grounds for an annulment in Indiana:
- One of the spouses was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage registration.
- The previous marriage of one of the spouses was not yet terminated.
- The spouses turned out to be closer relatives than second cousins.
Legal Separation in Indiana
Unlike in other states, legal separation and dissolution of marriage are not the same in Indiana.
While a divorce officially ends the marriage, legal separation gives it one more chance. What does this mean? Legal separation is an option that allows the couple to take a sort of a “gap year” from their marriage. Some couples need it in order to reconsider whether they want to take some time to fix their marriage or just finally get a divorce.
Although legal separation doesn’t actually terminate the marriage, it can still declare certain conditions related to children and property, just like in a real divorce.
However, it is important to note that due to Indiana law, legal separation cannot last longer than a year.
Same-Sex Divorce in Indiana
Same-sex marriage and divorce have been legally recognized in the state of Indiana since October 6, 2014. The entire divorce procedure for same-sex couples is identical to that of regular, heterosexual couples.
Military Divorce in Indiana
Military divorce is quite similar to regular divorce aside from a few factors. First, the main difficulty is usually with serving the military spouse with all the required paperwork. If the spouse is on active duty, they may be unable to attend the court hearings, so in some cases, the hearing may be postponed. Furthermore, the USFSPA (Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act) protects the interests of military spouses when it comes to property division. According to this, the retirement payments of the military spouse cannot be divided unless the couple has been married for over 10 years.
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Indiana
Felony conviction is one of the fault grounds for divorce in Indiana. This means that courts consider this fault when dividing the marital estate and child support determinations.
But despite the fact that a felony conviction can result in a successful outcome in a contested divorce case, you still can get an uncontested (default) divorce as well.
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Indiana Divorce Filing Fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
The filing fee can be waived for those who are indigent. You need to request the so-called waiver to the Indiana State Supreme Court. You will also need to provide official proof of your low income and the judge will approve of your request.
How We Can Help
We understand that the divorce process can be difficult and quite stressful. That is why our services are aimed at helping you get through the process as quickly and easy as possible. With just a short online interview, we customize the packet of paperwork designed to fit the needs of your individual case. All you need to do is print the forms out and file them with the court. Reach out to us if you have any questions as we are eager to help make your divorce process as affordable and easy as possible.
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