Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many couples. When the time comes to call it quits, most people have questions about how to get the legal process of divorce started, especially when considering divorce laws and procedures may vary from state to state. When it comes to how to file for divorce in Indiana, there are a few things to keep in mind.
How Do I File for Divorce?
In Indiana, a person can file for a no-fault divorce. Some states require a reason for the divorce (also known as an at-fault divorce), but Indiana is not one of those states. This means filing for divorce can occur for any reason and does need to fault one party as the reason for the divorce.
The act of filing for divorce will start with the paperwork you will need to file with the court. In Indiana, you will need to file the following forms for a divorce: Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Financial Declaration, Summons, and Child Support Obligation (if the couple has children). While it is possible to file these forms on your own, it is advisable to consult a divorce lawyer to ensure the forms are filled out properly and submitted correctly. A lawyer will also be able to answer any questions about starting the process and what to expect along the way.
Types of Divorces
Once the forms are filed, the other spouse will be served with divorce papers. If a couple agrees on the terms of the divorce (child support, custody, and financial asset division), they will be able to move forward with an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is the easiest and fastest type of divorce, but it is often not the only outcome. Another type of Indiana divorce is a contested divorce where one party does not agree to the terms being offered by the spouse who filed for the divorce. In this case, the couple can either enter mediation to reach an agreement or, if that fails, take the divorce case before a judge. There is also what is called an unacknowledged divorce. This is when the other spouse cannot be located and therefore cannot be served with divorce papers. In this situation, a divorce decree may be published in the newspaper to announce it as an attempt to locate the spouse. If they do not answer within a certain amount of time, the judge will grant the divorce.
What About Financial Disclosures?
During a divorce, spouses are legally required to disclose their finances, such as bank statements, tax returns, income statements, and an accurate account of all assets and debts. The court uses this information for matters such as child support, alimony, and distribution of assets. You should not make any major financial changes (big purchases or taking on extra debt) while going through the divorce process. Spouses who lie about or hide assets may face legal repercussions, so it is essential to accurately report all assets and debts to the courts.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Indiana Divorce?
While you are not legally required to have a lawyer for a divorce in Indiana, it is still advisable. Unless the divorce is uncontested or unacknowledged, there is a good chance that you will end up going to court in a legal battle over child support, child custody, or assets. A divorce lawyer will be able to answer questions and guide you to the best possible outcome based on the specifics of your case.