In Indiana, a divorce cannot be finalized until 60 days have passed from the date the divorce petition was filed. During this time, parties are given the opportunity to cool off and think about what their goals for their divorce proceeding are. Some people change their mind and dismiss their divorce entirely. Others may begin preparing for a final hearing. During this time, depending on the circumstances of the case, the parties may need to have a provisional hearing. This provisional hearing may be requested by either party and is used to set out certain orders during the pendency of the divorce.
What is a provisional hearing?
A provisional hearing is hearing in front of a judge during the waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. A provisional hearing outlines each party’s rights, responsibilities, and obligations during the waiting period. Think of the provisional hearing as setting the ground rules between the parties. During the provisional hearing, each party has an opportunity to present arguments, witnesses, and evidence to support their position. Any temporary orders issued by the judge as a result provisional hearing are binding on the parties for the duration of the waiting period. The judge may or may not replace the temporary order with a permanent order when the divorce is finalized.
What are some issues that may be resolved during a provisional hearing?
Provisional hearings are often requested when the parties have children, but they can also be requested when financial assistance is needed. For example, a provisional hearing may address and temporarily resolve the following questions:
• Which party has custody of the children during the waiting period?
• If the parties are splitting custody, what is the schedule for parenting time?
• Which party will be responsible for paying the children’s expenses?
• Which party will remain in the marital home? Who will move out?
• Who is responsible for paying the couple’s joint bills (e.g., mortgage, joint credit cards, utilities, upkeep of the home, etc.)?
• Will spousal support payments be necessary during the waiting period?
• Should the parties be allowed to spend, transfer, or sell their individual or jointly owned property?
• Should the parties be allowed to incur debt?
As the above questions lay out, provisional hearings are very important to set the ground rules during a couple’s divorce. If you are in the process of divorce, or are contemplating divorce, and you think you may need a provisional hearing, McNeelyLaw’s family law attorneys are happy to help. Call us at (317) 825-5110 to schedule a consultation today.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.