Getting a divorce in Indiana can seem like an overwhelming process. Fortunately, our Indiana divorce attorneys at McNeelyLaw can walk you through the divorce process and ensure that your best interests are protected at each step.
No two divorces are identical, but there are some basic steps that all divorces will go through, and understanding them can help you know what to expect and make the process less stressful.
The first step to filing for divorce in Indiana is ensuring that you meet the residency requirements. You or your spouse must have been a resident of Indiana or stationed at a United States military installation in Indiana for six months immediately before filing, and a resident of, or stationed at a U.S. military installation in, the county in which you file for 3 months immediately before filing.
The next step involves filing paperwork to get a divorce. Be sure you complete all of the necessary paperwork – including filing a Verified Petition for Dissolution, Appearance, and Summons. Don’t forget to pay any applicable fees to the county clerk when submitting the documents. The documents must also be delivered (or served) to your spouse according to the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure.
Indiana law has a mandatory cooling-off period, which lasts 60 days. Your divorce case cannot be finalized until 60 days after the filing date. As the name implies, the purpose of the cooling off period is to allow the couple to “cool off” and ensure that the spouses still want a divorce after 60 days pass.
If your divorce involves children, you will most likely be required to attend an educational parenting course. The goal of the class is to strengthen the parent-child relationship during a divorce. When the class is completed, the instructor may notify the court that the requirement has been fulfilled, or you may be required to file proof on your own, and the divorce case can proceed.
The parties can attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement at any time during the divorce process, including during the cooling-off period. If a settlement is reached, the parties should retain a skilled divorce attorney to draft a formal agreement before it is submitted to the judge for approval. If the parties cannot negotiate an agreement on their own, the court may require the parties to participate in mediation before setting a final hearing. This requirement varies from county to county, and a divorce attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations depending on what county your divorce is filed in.
If the parties cannot reach a settlement through informal negotiations or mediation, the last step in the divorce process will be attending a final hearing. The judge will hear each side’s arguments and resolve the contested issues between the parties. Then, the divorce is finalized when the court issues a Final Order and Decree.
As the emotional complexities of divorce can cloud judgment, it is important to seek assistance from a professional. Experienced attorneys at McNeelyLaw will help you prioritize objectives and create an individualized strategy that guides each decision with your key goals in mind.
We understand the tremendous impact this significant life event has on your future, and we are equipped to provide comprehensive legal guidance to make sure your family is set up for success both now and down the line.
The Indiana divorce attorneys at McNeelyLaw can assist you from the beginning stages (filing for divorce) to representing your best interests at the final hearing when you get a Final Order and Decree to enforcing the Order if your ex-spouse does not comply with their obligations under the Order. Contact our family law attorneys to get experienced legal guidance throughout the divorce process.
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