If you have lived in Indiana for at least six months, you have the right to file for divorce in the state. Ending a marriage in this state does not have to be confusing. In fact, the process is relatively straightforward. Understanding how the process works will ease some of your anxieties.
Prepare a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
Whether or not you are facing a contested divorce, you must file a petition for divorce. The packet of paperwork is available on the Indiana court's website. Keep in mind that the specific forms you need to use will vary based on whether you have children with your partner or if your spouse is fighting the divorce. If you and your spouse agree about how to divide property, you can include this information with the petition in the form of a marital settlement agreement.
You will return the documents to the court, who will also serve copies to your spouse. Each county may have their own rules for serving documents, and you may need to pay for a process server to perform this task.
Attend a Court Hearing
The judge will examine all your paperwork in court, and you will also present evidence to support your claims.
You will first attend a provisional hearing in which you present documents to the court. If you and your spouse agree on all issues of property division and custody, you may not have to come back to court at all. Otherwise, you will come back for a longer hearing and the judge will make some temporary orders in the meantime.
Part of the hearing involves asset division. Indiana law may consider all property, even that owned before marriage, to be marital property. The judge will consider how the couple acquired the property, whether it was linked to an inheritance or a gift, and the economic situation of each partner.
At this time, the court also considers spousal maintenance, sometimes known as alimony. The individual requesting maintenance must demonstrate they are incapacitated or lacks property to meet their needs. The judge may also consider the spouse's levels of education or training, earning capacity, and expenses.
If you have children with your spouse, the court will assess custody and visitation at this time. The judge may order how the couple should split time with the child. He or she also considers the child's wishes, best interest, age, sex, adjustment, and health.
Child support matters are typically related to the custody decision. The judge also considers the financial resources of each parent, the standard of living the child is used to, and any special needs the child may possess. Indiana uses a specific calculation for assessing child support, and a calculator is available through the state's website.
Indiana judges also have the right to require counseling for the two spouses or their children. One party may request it for the other, or the judge may deem it is in the best interest of the child.
If your hearing is successful and your divorce is granted, you will receive a decree noting your marriage is dissolved. The decree lists the essential information you need to know to move forward. Keep in mind that your divorce is not final until at least 60 days have passed from the date of filing.
Hire an Attorney
When you have an attorney, you can best secure your legal rights. Your attorney understands what the judge will look for and how you can secure your claims so you can achieve your goals.
Are you pursuing a divorce and want to ensure you make the best choices? Call The Law Office of Travis Van Winkle LLC today to set up a consultation.