Can You Get an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana?
Yes, you can get an uncontested divorce in Indiana. Uncontested divorce, also known as DIY divorce in Indiana, are instances where a couple simply approaches the court in agreement about the terms of their divorce. Generally, this means they agree on matters like finances, child custody, and the division of property, among other common elements of a divorce. Uncontested divorces are typically done privately by the couple and their Indiana uncontested divorce attorney.
Even when both parties agree on the terms of a divorce, it can still be a stressful process. Emotions can come into play, and there may still be a need for a court hearing. That’s when couples looking for the simplest way to divorce, run into trouble. While going the DIY route may seem like the best option at the time, it rarely works to the advantage of either party. If you’re considering an uncontested divorce in Indiana, you should first speak with an Indiana divorce attorney about what to expect. They can help you understand how to avoid the hazards that often plague self-represented divorce litigants, and what’s necessary to avoid costly problems in the future.
If you have questions about uncontested divorce or divorce in general, contact the attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys. We stand ready to provide you with trusted and compassionate representation.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested divorces refer to a divorce in which a couple simply approaches the court in complete agreement regarding the terms – finances, child custody, division of property, etc. – of their divorce. Uncontested divorces in Indiana are typically done privately by the couple, alongside their Indiana uncontested divorce attorney.
Uncontested divorces in Indiana are more common than most imagine. The reason being is that Indiana is a no-fault divorce state. This means that neither party needs to prove the other is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage before the court will grant the divorce. Therefore, couples often believe that filing for divorce in Indiana is a simple, pain-free legal endeavor that they can handle without an attorney.
The Process of Getting an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
Regardless of whether you’re going through a contested or uncontested divorce in Indiana, the process is largely the same. When a spouse initiates a divorce, they do so by filing a petition for the dissolution of the marriage with the clerk of court. In addition to that filing, they must also serve (deliver the legal documents) their soon-to-be ex-spouse in a manner described in court rules.
If one or both parties would like to request a written record of how payment of expenses, debt and possession of property will be handled while the divorce is still pending, they may submit a provisional order for the court’s approval. However, regardless of a provisional order, Indiana courts often require both parties to file a financial declaration form, which detail each person’s assets and expenses.
When the couple submits their settlement agreement, the court will proceed to review the document, although the earliest the court can approve an agreement and grant the petition for dissolution is 60 days from the date the petition was filed. If the parties’ settlement agreement complies with Indiana divorce law, the court will grant the petition for dissolution and issue a dissolution decree, the official court order severing the marriage.
How an Attorney Can Help with an Uncontested Divorce
While this process may seem straightforward, divorce in Indiana can actually be a rather complicated legal process, regardless of whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce. Non-lawyers generally don’t have the legal experience to:
- Understand the tax considerations and Indiana divorce laws regarding property, individual and joint assets and debts
- Decipher Indiana law on child custody, parenting time, and support matters
- Accurately prepare and timely file the required court documents
- Navigate the legal system in an efficient and advantageous manner
Even if you’re pursuing a collaborative, uncontested divorce in Indiana, you should still speak with an Indiana divorce attorney about how to best proceed with the dissolution of your marriage. The Indiana uncontested divorce attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have years of experience with uncontested divorces. We help each couple pursuing an uncontested divorce come to a mutually acceptable settlement agreement and then do all we can to streamline their divorce proceedings.
The Indianapolis Attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help parties pursuing an uncontested divorce by:
- Advising on the relevant legal matters that must be covered in the divorce
- Helping the parties identify all assets and liabilities subject to division in the divorce
- Accurately preparing and timely filing all necessary court documents, including the petition for dissolution, financial declarations, provisional orders, and a summary decree of dissolution and settlement agreement
- Identifying future areas of concern or issues that must be addressed
- Explain Indiana’s parenting time guidelines and Indiana child custody laws, so the divorcing parties fully understand their individual obligations
If you’re considering an uncontested or DIY divorce in Indiana, contact the attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys. We’d be happy to walk you through the process and help you both move forward with your lives in a cooperative and considerate way.
The Advantages of a DIY Divorce in Indiana
When two parties choose to pursue an uncontested divorce in Indiana, it’s often because they wish to collaborate on all matters necessary to dividing up their financial and personal lives. They also may wish to avoid any courtroom drama and, more generally, lessen the emotional toll that the divorce may take on their personal and professional lives.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana:
- Amicable: While courtroom divorces are designed to be adversarial, uncontested divorces allow the two parties to collaborate and find common ground on their agreement
- Efficient: Uncontested divorces are often much less time-consuming than contested divorces, which may require court intervention
- Flexible: Since the two parties are negotiating their own terms, they can also set the schedule and pace of their divorce, giving them the benefit of avoiding court deadlines and hearing dates
- Cost-Friendly: Couples pursuing an uncontested divorce usually pay less attorney fees and court fees
- Easier For the Children: Uncontested divorces reduce conflict between the two parties and reduce the time it takes to complete the divorce. This makes it easier to talk to the kids about divorce, and often puts children in a better position to cope with this new normal.
The Disadvantages of a DIY Divorce in Indiana
Uncontested, DIY divorces in Indiana often involve the clients acting as their own lawyer, which in the legal world is known as pro se representation. This type of representation is almost never recommended. Although the two divorcing parties may agree on all issues, knowing everything that must be addressed under Indiana divorce law is an entirely different matter.
When couples choose to represent themselves, they run the risk of misidentifying assets that could be subject to division in the divorce. This could include current rights to future payments, or whether or not one party will still remain a beneficiary on an account or the other party’s insurance policy. They may also be confronted with unexpected court orders. For instance, some pro se litigants are surprised when the court enters an order limiting their spending during the divorce process, allowing them to only pay for necessities like food, utilities, housing and insurance.
A couple that is representing themselves may also be unaware of how complicated child custody and parenting time orders can become; not realizing that they affect much more than just who makes the decisions about the child’s upbringing (legal custody) and who gets to spend more time with the child (parenting time). The two parties are certainly able to propose and agree upon a parenting time schedule, however, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines can help fill in any gaps in their agreement, including:
- Transportation To/From Parenting Time
- Logistics about Make-Up Parenting Time
- Adjusting Parenting Time for Holidays and Vacations
Additionally, pro se litigants are often surprised to learn about Indiana relocation law. Generally, before moving residence, Indiana Code 31-17-2.2-1 requires the relocating individual to file notice of the intent to relocate with the court and serve copies of the notice on the non-relocating individual. Indiana Code 31-9-2-107.5 defines “relocating individual” as anyone who intends to change his/her principal residence; or is seeking custody or parenting time with a child of the marriage. More simply, the notice requirements of the relocation law apply even if the parent moving households does not have primary physical custody.
Finally, one thing that spouses pursuing an uncontested divorce in Indiana often neglect to consider is the name change. The spouse who took the other spouses name upon marriage has the ability to return to their former name after the divorce, and can be addressed during the divorce proceedings. However, if the name change is not addressed during the proceedings, that person would then need to go through the time and cost of additional legal proceedings to officially change their name.
Ready to Speak with an Indiana Uncontested Divorce Attorney?
No matter how collaborative you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have chosen to be, getting a divorce in Indiana is still an emotionally tolling and complex process. It requires careful negotiation and agreement on various elements of your post-marriage lives. If you and your spouse are pursuing an amicable, uncontested divorce in Indiana, you’ll want to consult with an Indiana divorce attorney before moving forward. Doing so will ensure that every element of the divorce that should be covered in your settlement agreement, is covered.
Even an uncontested divorce or DIY Divorce in Indiana requires careful negotiation of various issues or matters with your spouse over the divorce proceedings and post-marriage arrangements that could affect your life for years to come. If you and your spouse are amicably divorcing in Indianapolis or elsewhere in Indiana, an uncontested divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP has the experience and skill to help you through the process. To begin moving forward with your lives, contact the attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.