Making the decision to end a marriage is difficult and comes with many responsibilities. You will need to identify all of your martial assets, determine how to divide your property, come to terms on a custody agreement, and fulfill certain requirements under Indiana state law. This can all be overwhelming at first, but a skilled family law attorney can guide you through the process and help you prepare for all legal proceedings.

Understanding Indiana’s Divorce Laws

Important factors to consider are when and where you can file for a divorce. Most states, including Indiana, have a six-month residency requirement before an individual can file for divorce. If you recently moved to the state, you will need to wait until the six month mark to begin filing the paperwork. Only one spouse needs to be a resident of Indiana to begin the proceedings.

As far as what you need to prove to get a divorce, the state of Indiana is a no-fault state. When filing a petition for dissolution of marriage, you only need to state that there was an irretrievable breakdown of your relationship to justify the divorce. You do not need to disclose any personal details about your relationship, such as if your spouse committed adultery or if there were domestic violence allegations.

During your divorce proceedings, you will need to come to terms on how your property will be divided and what form your custody agreement will take. With regards to property division, Indiana is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property acquired during the marriage must be divided equally and fairly between spouses. In addition, any property brought into the marriage may be considered marital property.

How custody is assigned and property is divided will come down to the relationship between you and your spouse and if your divorce is treated as contested or uncontested.

Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

Uncontested divorces are considered the most ideal situation for most parties. During uncontested divorces, both sides come to an agreement about how property should be divided and how custody rights should be arranged. They may have a mutual understanding of how their marriage’s finances worked and know how to fairly divide their assets. For their children, they may choose to share joint custody and create a parenting plan that gives them equal amount of time with their children.

Unfortunately, uncontested divorces are not always an option. Parties may disagree about what property is considered separate and what is marital, how their property should be divided, and who is fit to have legal or physical custody of their children. These divorces are contested and require spouses to retain separate legal counsel to resolve issues, which may end up before a judge in a family law court.

Discovering All Marital Assets

Even if your divorce is uncontested, you will need to comb through your marital property and finances to find all assets that could be divided in your divorce. Some assets may be hidden or undisclosed by one side of a divorce, and your attorney will need to identify these assets and determine their value to avoid leaving out important assets from your divorce proceedings. Debts must also be included in your property division procedures, as they could end up affecting both sides if they are not resolved prior to a divorce.

Filing Your Divorce Petition

Once you are ready to begin divorce proceedings, you or your attorney will need to file a petition to dissolve a marriage with your county clerk. This petition should include a summons for the other party in your divorce, a financial declaration of your income, and a child support obligation worksheet. There may also be other documents you need to include in this initial filing, and you should discuss the details with your attorney to ensure all legal obligations are met. After these forms are filed, your family law court will schedule a court appearance to begin working through the details of your case.

Speaking With a Family Law Attorney

The intricacies of Indiana’s divorce procedures cannot be understated. Many individuals fail to understand how complex a divorce can become if they do not work with an experienced attorney. At Emerson Divorce and Accident Injury Attorneys, L.L.C., we are a husband and wife law team that understands firsthand how difficult a divorce can be. We understand the confusion and stress you may feel, which is why we can walk you through the steps in your divorce and defend your rights every step of the way. To discuss your divorce today with a Carmel family law attorney, call us at (317) 969-8000.