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In this article we will answer questions relating to the basics of Indiana Divorce such as: What is the divorce process in Indiana?, What is the timeframe of divorce in Indiana?, What is the cost for an Indiana divorce?, How long does an uncontested divorce take in Indiana?, and How long does a contested divorce take in Indiana?
The Basics of Indiana Divorce
If you are resident of Indiana and are ready to file for divorce you naturally have some basic questions on your mind. Divorce in Indiana is no-fault, which means all you need to claim is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Once you realize that you do not have to prove anything to the court in order to get a divorce in Indiana, you probably wonder how much it will cost and how long it will take. The cost and timeframes for a divorce in Indiana vary depending on a few factors that will be explained in this article.
If there are minor children or the divorce is contested then it can greatly affect the timeframe and cost of an Indiana divorce. We will also give you a general overview of the actual divorce process in Indiana, in order to give you a decent idea of what to expect. Naturally, everyone has their own unique set of facts and circumstances that will come into play during their divorce so we will keep our explanation of the process general. Your Indiana family law attorney will be able to more fully inform you of how your specific divorce will go.
The Divorce Process In Indiana
In order to file a petition for dissolution of marriage in Indiana, one of the parties must have established residency in order for an Indian court to have jurisdiction over the proceedings. That means that either your or your spouse must have been a resident of Indiana for at least six months prior to filing the petition for dissolution.
Typically, people file a no-fault petition, claiming that the marriage is irretrievably broken however Indiana will grant a “fault” divorce for the following factors; felony conviction of either part, impotence, or if one of the spouses suffers from incurable insanity for a period of two years or more. Usually, people file a petition for dissolution based on the marriage being irretrievably broken. In the petition, the parties can propose a division of assets and debts as well as custody and visitation if there are minor children.
It does not matter if the divorce is uncontested or contested, you must use the proper law and propose how the marital property should be divided. It is important to note that at this time in the process, an injunction is included instructing both spouses not to make any changes to the marital finances and property. In other words, you can’t file for divorce and then start selling off the marital property before it is properly divided.
If the petition is not an amicable or joint petition for divorce, the other spouse will file their answer and how they propose the martial property will be divided and what should be done with the minor children, if there are any.
It typically takes 60 days to get a divorce in Indiana if it is not contested in any way. If the divorce is contested then it can take considerably longer. If the parties fight about every detail of the divorce, then it will take time to deal with each issue and resolve it. The Courts typically do not want a divorce to sit on their calendar for a long period of time and will take steps to encourage the parties to reach an agreement so that everyone can get on with their new lives. If your divorce is contested, both spouses must keep in mind that they are given the opportunity to reach an agreement they can live with but if they simply will not cooperate, they will probably be given a final order from the court that they will be less satisfied with. The court may also order the parties to attend mediation, extending timelines and creating additional costs.
Marital Settlement Agreement/Custody And Visitation Agreement
If the parties agree on these two documents, then the court can simply incorporate them into the final order that grants the divorce. If the parties cannot agree on these two documents, the timeframe for the divorce being final will be considerably longer. Depending on the various issues surrounding the two agreements, it can take months and potential court appearances to resolve them. Some parties benefit from mediation and resolve things in that forum but in very contentious cases it can even go to trial.
Final Decree Of Divorce
Once all issues between the parties have been resolved, the court can enter a final decree of divorce. The final decree incorporates the division of martial property and any child custody and visitation.
Post Decree Filings
In many cases, one former spouse will take an issue related to the divorce back into the court. It is usually related to child custody, support or visitation. At times it could be based on alimony or spousal support if one spouse was awarded alimony in the divorce. In rare instances, it could be related to one spouse concealing assets acquired during the marriage that were not identified and properly divided during the divorce.
In a recent article, we outline a step-by-step process on How to File For Divorce In Indiana.
As we addressed above, if the Indiana divorce is amicable and uncontested, it can be finalized in 60 days. If the parties are disputing one or more issues, it can take longer. It really all depends on the parties after the 60-day mark.
Indiana Divorce cost
It is incredibly difficult to give a specific number as to the cost of a divorce in Indiana. The initial filing fee for the petition varies from county to county. You will also have to cover the cost of having the petition and accompanying documents notarized. You will have to pay for service on your spouse. It is recommended that you hire an attorney to represent you, even if the divorce is uncontested because a divorce is a very serious undertaking that will significantly affect the rest of your life, including your finances and things like your home and retirement. You will most likely have to pay for mediation to resolve any property disputes. You may also be required to pay for and attend some form of parenting class if there are minor children in the divorce, in order to acquire the tools, you need to help the children through the divorce process and adjust to separate parenting. A frank discussion with your attorney can help demystify the expenses related to divorce and give you a better idea of what to expect but even that discussion needs to be flexible, a great deal of the expense can depend on the actions of the other spouse and how hard they fight, if at all, over certain issues.
How Long Does An Uncontested Divorce Take in Indiana?
An uncontested divorce means that both parties want out of the marriage and agree to the same terms but it does not always equal an amicable divorce. What can start out as an uncontested divorce can easily turn into a bitterly litigated case. So, if the divorce is simple and uncontested, it can be finalized at the end of the 60-day waiting period but it is not a good idea to assume that a divorce will remain uncontested for the entire process. Problems can occur and often that is the case when divorce hits a snag that cannot be resolved by the spouses. To summarize, there is no guarantee that an uncontested divorce will remain uncontested and finalized in 60 days. You should hope for the best but do not count on the divorce finishing in 61 days.
How Long Does A Contested Divorce Take in Indiana?
The short answer would be, more than 60 days. Depending on the complexity of the issues presented, like the contested division of assets and debts and the custody of minor children it could easily take over a year. If the parties are not getting along and one or both of them wants to fight for every term it will just slow down the process, which is a factor that cannot be predicted. The best approach in situations such as these is again, to hope for the best but prepare for the divorce to take a while.
If you are contemplating divorce in Indiana, your first step should be to consult with an experienced Indiana family law attorney. You will be able to explain your situation and received feedback from an experienced attorney who had dealt with many Indiana divorces. If we can be of any assistance to you, feel free to give us a call at (630)-324-6666, we would be happy to help.
What to Expect From a Consultation
The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.