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Divorce is understandably stressful, even when both parties agree on the terms of their parting. Despite a general agreement, there can still be emotional turmoil and the need for courtroom hearings and the preparation and filing of legal documents to legally dissolve the marriage.
Increasingly, couples believe they are simplifying the process by electing to file for an uncontested divorce in Indiana. But, handling your own divorce isn’t necessarily an advantage. Experienced Indiana divorce lawyers know how to avoid the hazards that can befall self-represented divorce litigants. Working with an uncontested divorce attorney is necessary to prevent costly problems in the future.
Safely Navigate an Amicable Divorce with an Indiana Uncontested Divorce Attorney
Divorce brings to mind thoughts of dividing possessions and going your separate ways. Dependi ng on your circumstances, your divorce could be fairly straightforward or it could be very involved. You really don’t know which it will be unless you consult a knowledgeable Indiana divorce attorney.
The key to your fresh start is a clean divorce, one that addresses all necessary matters, including division of assets and liability, child custody and parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance. A clean divorce also anticipates future issues that could arise and provides for those circumstances. Knowing how to handle these matters as well as where to look for records, how to navigate the court, how Indiana divorce law applies in your case, and whether the court is likely to accept your agreement is the province of the experienced uncontested divorce attorney in Indiana.
Want to learn more about your uncontested divorce options? Contact us today to speak with our team.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
Indiana is a no-fault divorce state. This means neither party needs to prove the other is to blame in some way for the breakdown of the marriage before the court will grant the divorce. For this reason, sometimes parties ending a marriage believe they can handle the divorce themselves. But non-lawyers generally don’t have the legal experience to:
- Know their legal rights regarding individual and joint assets and debts
- Know Indiana law on child custody, parenting time, and support matters
- Accurately prepare and timely file the required court documents
- Efficiently navigate the legal system
An uncontested divorce attorney understands that an uncontested divorce in Indiana is a cooperative endeavor and works to facilitate that and protect your rights without inciting disagreement.
The Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
An uncontested divorce attorney recognizes that the parties wish to collaborate on all of the matters necessary to divide their personal and financial lives. An uncontested divorce often avoids courtroom drama and, thereby, helps lessen the emotional upheaval that accompanies a divorce. An uncontested divorce attorney shares knowledge of the law and the divorce process, gained by years of experience, to ease the couple’s unjoining.
Your Indianapolis divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP will understand and respect the benefits you seek from uncontested divorce, which can include:
- Amicability: Courtroom divorces are almost designed to be adversarial, while uncontested divorces allow a couple to find common ground and collaborate on their agreement
- Efficiency: Completing an uncontested divorce is often significantly quicker than finalizing a contested divorce, which can require court intervention
- Flexibility: Because the parties are negotiating their own terms, they can also set the schedule and pace of their divorce, often avoiding court deadlines and hearing dates
- Cost: Uncontested divorces are usually quicker and don’t involve as many court fees
- Easier on children: If there are children involved, the reduced conflict and reduced time to complete the divorce can also benefit them and their best interests
An uncontested divorce attorney from our firm works with each client to foster a mutually acceptable agreement and streamline the divorce process as much as possible.
The Process for Divorce in Indiana
The basic process for divorce is generally the same whether you are filing for a contested or uncontested divorce in Indiana. One spouse initiates the divorce by filing a petition for dissolution with the clerk of the court. The filing party must also effect service (deliver the legal documents) on the other spouse in a manner described by court rules.
If one or both parties would like a written record of how they will handle the payment of expenses and debts and possession of property while the divorce is pending, they can submit a signed agreement, called a provisional order, for the court’s approval. Regardless, courts often require both parties to file a financial declaration form, detailing each person’s assets and expenses.
The parties can submit to the court a settlement agreement on all matters necessary to divide their personal, physical, and financial lives, including:
- Division of assets owned by one or both spouses, including personal property, houses, vehicles, financial accounts, and business interests
- Allocation of responsibility for individual and joint debts
- Child custody, parenting time (visitation), and child support (including educational support)
The court will review the parties’ written agreement on these and other matters, 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 comports with Indiana divorce law, the court will grant the petition for dissolution and issue a dissolution decree, the official court order severing the marriage.
If you are facing a divorce, CLICK HERE to download our FREE divorce eBook to prepare yourself for the divorce process!
The Pitfalls of Self-Representation in a Divorce in Indiana
Self-representation, often called pro se representation, means acting as your own lawyer. While divorcing partners may agree on all the issues that come to mind for dividing their lives, knowing everything that needs to be addressed under Indiana divorce law is another matter entirely.
Regarding the division of physical and financial assets, pro se litigants sometimes miss identifying assets that could be subject to division in the divorce, such as current rights to future payments or whether a soon-to-be former spouse will remain a beneficiary on an account or insurance policy. They may also be surprised if the court, on its own, enters an order limiting their spending to only necessary expenses such as food, utilities, insurance, and housing during the divorce.
Spouses with children may also be unaware of how custody and parenting time orders can affect more than just who makes the decisions about the child’s upbringing (legal custody) and who the child spends time with (parenting time). Although the parties are free to propose and agree to a parenting time schedule, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines would fill in any gaps in their agreement on matters such as:
- Transportation to and from parenting time
- Whether and how cancelled parenting time can be made up
- How to adjust parenting time for national and personal holidays and school vacations
The parties may not have intended or chosen how the Guidelines fill in missing details in their parenting time agreement. Additionally, parties are often surprised to learn that Indiana relocation law requires them to give notice to the court and their former partner before moving residences and that relocation can result in a change of parenting time or even custody.
Another area that can be overlooked in a divorce is the name change. A spouse who adopted a new name upon marriage may return to a former name after the divorce. If the name change is not included in the divorce proceedings, then that person would need to go through the time and cost of separate legal proceedings to effect a name change.
Even though the parties were in complete agreement during the divorce process, the tide can turn later if an issue arises that they should have but did not anticipate and further court intervention is required. The right Indiana divorce attorney can guide you through the divorce process with respect for your agreement while making sure you are fully aware of all issues that should be addressed in your divorce.
If you’re divorcing in Marion County, Hamilton County, or elsewhere in central Indiana, an Indianapolis divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help.
Why You Need an Uncontested Divorce Attorney
While any party to a divorce in Indiana is not required to have legal representation, it is highly advised that you seek legal counsel. Finding the right attorney to guide you through the process is key.
An uncontested divorce attorney understands your desire to end your marriage amicably and works to facilitate the divorce by advising you of the rights, limitations, and obligations under Indiana divorce law on matters relevant throughout the legal process and in the years that follow.
An Indianapolis divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help parties who are working cooperatively to uncouple by doing the following:
- Advising on the relevant legal matters to be covered in the divorce
- Helping the parties identify all assets and liabilities subject to division in the divorce
- Accurately and completely 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 need to be addressed as part of the uncontested divorce
- Consulting regarding Indiana’s parenting time guidelines so the parties fully understand their individual obligations
And, if your relationship devolves to the point that agreement is no longer possible, we are also highly skilled litigation attorneys.
Even an uncontested divorce 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.
Your divorce does not have to take a significant toll on your life. Use our online form or call (317) 857-0160 to request a free case evaluation today.