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Many people ask, what is an uncontested divorce?  Is it like a legal separation, or like when roommates part ways and separate their belongings without disagreement?  It isn’t like either situation.  Marriage is a legal union that requires court action to sever.  There are few grounds upon which one may divorce in the state of Indiana.  So, there are few grounds upon which one may contest the divorce, in and of itself.

Many people ask, what is an uncontested divorce?  Is it like a legal separation, or like when roommates part ways and separate their belongings without disagreement?  It isn’t like either situation.  Marriage is a legal union that requires court action to sever.  There are few grounds upon which one may divorce in the state of Indiana.  So, there are few grounds upon which one may contest the divorce, in and of itself.

Grounds For Divorce in Indiana

The only legal grounds for divorce in Indiana are 1) an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, 2) conviction of a felony after marriage, 3) impotence existing at the time of marriage or 4) insanity lasting at least two years after marriage.  Although some of these grounds may be contested, those grounds are not the subject of this article.  

The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage concept was designed, by law, to preclude blame and promote amicable resolution of marital issues between the spouses.  To that end, only an irretrievable break down of the marital bond should be used as grounds for dissolution of the marriage for an uncontested divorce in Indiana.  

Uncontested Divorce in Indiana

In the perfect world, an uncontested divorce would be based upon irreconcilable differences, involve both spouses deciding that dissolution of the marital bond should be severed at or about the same time, both spouses would have no shared dependents (e.g. children of the marriage by birth, adoption, fostering, etc.), no property to divide (e.g. real, personal, pets, etc. ), and no plans for the future that had to be shifted (e.g. life insurance policies, IRA’s, etc.).

If all of the above apply to your situation, then you have what most lawyers would term an “uncontested divorce.”  The question then becomes, what to include in your Marital Settlement Agreement.  

In the state of Indiana, if it is possible for the spouses to agree on all issues and set them out in a Marital Settlement Agreement, an Indiana court can enter a Summary Dissolution Decree that enters a decree dissolving the marriage, incorporates a Marital Settlement Agreement that divides all assets, assigns all rights and liabilities as between the parties, and sets out all parenting rights and responsibilities, if any.

Marital Settlement Agreements in Indiana

A marital settlement agreement should be preceded by an exchange between spouses of all financial disclosures and other documents required by Indiana Supreme Court and local court rules.  For an example,  Lake County, Indiana may require that the following be accomplished prior to the court granting the parties a dissolution, depending on the spousal circumstances:

  • complete a mandatory on-line parenting workshop, and provide proof of compliance to the court within thirty (30) days of filing your petition  
  • attend a mandatory co-parenting class, and provide proof of compliance to the court within sixty 60 days of filing your petition
  • submit a parenting plan proposal to the other side or the court
  • submit a child support guidelines worksheet to the other side or the court
  • submit a parenting time credit worksheet to the other side or the court
  • submit a post-secondary education worksheet to the other side or the court
  • submit a financial declaration form within thirty (30) days of filing your petition to the other side or the court
  • submit documents backing up all representations in certain forms to the other side or the court

If either spouse holds a pension or I.R.A, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) might be required by the court to address division of same.  Preparation of these documents can get complicated, so seeking the advice of an attorney is strongly suggested.  

If you and your spouse own no real estate, hold no pensions, own no assets in excess of your wages and there are no children or dependents of the marriage, your chances of having a simple uncontested dissolution decree summarily granted are good.  

Indiana Divorce FAQs

Q: How does uncontested divorce work in Indiana?  

A: You must serve the other spouse with your Petition for Dissolution, Summons and proposed Marital Settlement Agreement, if any, unless he or she waives service of summons and agrees to everything that you present to the court in your documents.  You may have to prove certain things to the court, however (e.g. that both spouses exchanged/disclosed all required information and meet all requirements for summary dissolution).

Q: Who should get an uncontested divorce?

A: Persons who are in agreement on all aspects of their dissolution and division of all assets, rights and liabilities.

Q: How long does an uncontested divorce take in Indiana?

A: At a minimum sixty (60) days.  Indiana courts are required to wait sixty (60) days after filing of a Petition for Dissolution to enter a final Decree of Dissolution.

Q: How much does an uncontested divorce in Indiana cost?

A: The answer depends upon your circumstances.  Filing fees are listed on your local county court website.  Attorney rates, should you need one vary.

Q: What forms are needed for an uncontested divorce in Indiana?

A: At a minimum, an Appearance, Summons (or Waiver of Summons), Petition and Divorce Decree (i.e. Order for the judge to sign).  Many other documents may be necessary depending on your situation and local court rules in your area.

Q: Do I need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce in Indiana?

A: No, but it is advisable to consult with an Indiana lawyer familiar with your situation before you proceed on your own.

Posted 
October 7, 2021
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