Divorce is never very easy – it brings both material expences as well as psychological sufferings which are hard to deny. However, it is also incorrect and not wise to think that the failed marriage must be kept at all сosts. So what can we do? Exactly how can we protect ourselves and especially our kids who typically become the main victims of depressing divorce stats?
An uncontested divorce may be the solution. When the partners are ready to show patience and wisdom, they can work together and avoid the trial with all associated dramatization and long-drawn court fights. In addition to it, an uncontested divorce allows saving a substantial amount of time and money, which surely can be spent in a far better means.
Every divorce case is one-of-a-kind, and actually, you may even deal with a divorce without a lawyer. Many people divorce as self-represented litigants in Indiana, and it is the most affordable way to terminate the marriage.
However, regardless of whether you wish to manage a divorce with or without an attorney, in an uncontested divorce, your major goal is to do without a court hearing. So, anyhow, you need to be well-prepared in order to do every little thing right the first time. You should understand fundamental rules of filing for divorce in Indiana as well as Indiana divorce laws, because it will certainly help you to decide which type of separation, what “divorce scenario” (contested or uncontested dissolution, divorce with lawyer or DIY divorce, online divorce, etc.) would be the most appropriate in your particular case.
But foremost, you should know what the terms the spouses should agree in advance to be eligible for an uncontested divorce, which is also called “divorce with agreement” in Indiana.
Grounds for Divorce
The dissolution of the marriage in the state of Indiana may be granted upon either at-fault and no-fault grounds.
Fault grounds for divorce mean that the split was caused by the misconduct or incurable insanity of either spouse. Each of so-called fault grounds must be proved before the court. Therefore, these grounds lead to conesting the divorce lawsuit. According to the Indiana divorce laws, they are:
– The conviction of either of the parties, subsequent to the marriage, of a felony.
– Impotence, existing at the time of the marriage.
– Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two years.
The only no-fault ground for divorce which is perfect for filing for uncontested divorce in Indiana is titled as “Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This wording means that the spouses just cannot get along anymore and there are no chances for reconciliation. “Irretrievable breakdown” implies that neither party needs to prove anything. It is enough for the court if just one of the spouses testifies that the marital relationship cannot be fixed. No one can be forced to remain married.
If the spouses have minor children, the court enters a custody order. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses are encouraged to create their parenting plan and make a decision concerning child custody.
Then, they should submit their plan for court approval.
There are two types of custody in Indiana – physical and legal custody.
Physical custody means providing the home, daily care, and supervision of a child. Legal custody refers to decision-making power concerning the child’s upbringing (education, medical care, travels, religion, and other issues.) Parents may share these responsibilities on their discretion. Even though the child lives with one of the parents, joint physical custody may be recognized, if the second parent spends significant time with the child (alternate weekends, weeks, or even months). However, the most common custody arrangement assumes that one of the parents has physical custody of the child, while the other parent enjoys visitation rights. Legal custody is typically shared.
Indiana courts welcome joint legal custody if it is considered to meet the very best interest of the kid. The court evaluates each divorce case individually, taking into consideration such vital aspects as each parents’ suitability, their capacity to interact and work together for the child’s well-being, their relationship with the kid, as well as other factors. Neither spouse can be granted custody of the child by default. Gender does not matter.
Granting the custody the judge is guided only by the best interests of the child. When thinking about the prepared parenting plan the court focus on the age and sex of the kid, the preferences of the parents and the child (if the kid is at least fourteen y.o.), the communication and interrelationship of the kid with each parent and brothers or sisters if any, and so on. Other considerable aspects are the psychological and physical health and wellness of all involved parties, and also any history of domestic violence by either parent (which, without a doubt, is a compelling factor not to award joint custody).
Distribution of marital assets and other property is another one critical issue of any divorce. If the spouses have not a huge amount of capital they are good candidates for uncontested and even for DIY divorce in Indiana. Nevertheless, if they can allocate their property amicably and out-of-court they still have right to divorce without litigation. To do so, they have to make a marital settlement agreement and outline its terms in the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage form. So, what property should be divided in a divorce and hat is the procedure of property division in Indiana?
Indiana is equitable distribution state, implying that all the marital property of the couple must be split equitably. Indiana divorce law assumes that equal distribution is fair unless either spouse provides evidence of unfairness, so, determining the reasonable property division (or reviewing the couple’s settlement agreement), the court typically takes into consideration the factors which may specify that an unequal division of property would certainly be more appropriate. Among these factors are each partner’s contributions into family wealth, each partner’s income, earning ability, personal property, as well as the fault of any party in the disposal of marital assets.
Pay attention, that only the marital property is subject to division, so the spouses must make sure what of the property is marital (bought and obtained during the marriage) and what is the separate property of each party. Whatever was acquired by each spouse prior to the wedding along with all the individual presents and inheritances (regardless of before or during the marriage) is separate property.
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, may be ordered to be paid from the one ex-spouse to the other one with a lower income or earning ability.
Spousal support is not a mandatory divorce item, so if any spouse thinks he/she is qualified for alimony, he/she should request it.
Spousal support is designed to provide decent living conditions for that party who really can’t become financially self-sufficient for some valid reason.
In Indiana, spousal support may be granted for different periods and in varying amounts depending on the situation.
For example, if one of the spouses is physically or mentally incapacitated, alimony may be appointed until the conditions change.
Also, the court may order alimony for the spouse who has not enough property and who can’t work outside the home and earn enough money since he/she is a custodian of a child with special needs.
But the most common type of alimony in Indiana is the so-called rehabilitative alimony. Such support may be granted for a period of no longer than three years in order to give a supported spouse an ability to find a proper employment. The money should be spent on education or retraining, which should help to re-enter a job market.
Appointing alimony, the judge considers each couple’s circumstances separately. The financial condition of the paying spouse is taken into account as well.