Our emotions tend to lead our decisions and cause a lot of trouble in anxiety-ridden situations like marriage dissolution. It's a stressful experience that can easily bring out the worst in people. But if such a decision has been made, ending a marriage doesn't always have to be challenging. By choosing an uncontested divorce, spouses can have this process done faster, cheaper, and with minimum stress and drama. Below we listed some essential tips and steps for anyone getting divorced in Indiana. We hope you will find these insights helpful during the preparation stage of the marriage dissolution.
An Uncontested Divorce: What is It?
It is a type of legal procedure when neither spouse is fighting. Being on the same page about having a divorce can be beneficial to both spouses and save them plenty of time and money. The couple should also have no financial disputes, including alimony, property division, and child custody.
So how to apply for a divorce that is uncontested, and what are the main requirements? One of the spouses (known as the petitioner) files the divorce documents with the court. If the other side (the respondent) agrees to dissolve the marriage, it can be granted by the court.
An uncontested divorce can be beneficial for many reasons. It can offer spouses the following advantages:
It's inexpensive. Ex-spouses can often handle an uncontested divorce on their own without an attorney, making it very affordable. There are plenty of online divorce companies where it is only needed to answer some questions about the marriage, and the software will fill out the divorce papers based on the answers. It is a wonderful opportunity to save some money, as the price for such services rarely goes higher than a couple of hundred dollars. Compared to hiring a lawyer, a partially complete divorce online significantly decreases the cost of divorce. Don’t be mistaken, though. There is no such thing as ‘web divorce’ or ‘internet divorce.’ It still takes the involvement of the court for the divorce to be final.
It's fast to process. Uncontested divorces typically are granted faster than contested ones due to the lack of disputes between ex-spouses and a chance to prepare documents for the divorce over the internet. It results in fewer legal proceedings so both spouses can move on with their lives faster.
It indicates that the ex-couple has reached some mutual understanding. If both parties agree on every step of the divorce process, there will be no need to process any additional information or resolve disputes.
It is possible to keep the privacy. Usually, divorce proceeding information becomes public, including the financial aspects. The fewer disputes ex-partners have during the divorce process – the smaller the chance that it will become a matter of public record.
However, there are also some cons to uncontested divorce that spouses should be aware of:
It will be more complicated if spouses have kids. Couples with children must file additional online divorce forms regarding the child's custody and spousal support.
It's not the best option if parties harbor too much resentment for each other. An uncontested divorce implies cooperation between ex-partners, which can be really stressful if they two hate each other.
Uncontested Divorce in Indiana: How It's Done
Step 1: Make an Agreement With The Ex-Spouse
Before starting filling out divorce forms, spouses should agree that they don't have any disputes regarding common minor children's custody, property division, debts, or alimony. After all these aspects have been sorted out and agreed upon, they will be able to start preparing the divorce documents.
Step 2: Filling Out the Divorce Forms
To properly file for divorce, parties need to gather the necessary papers. Apart from providing the required information about the marriage, it's important that spouses also state the reason or ‘grounds' for divorce. Indiana is a ‘no-fault' state, which means that parties can use ‘irretrievably broken marriage' as a legal reason to end it. In this situation, neither spouse is to blame, and the marriage can be ended faster and cheaper than if they were having a contested divorce. For example, it is possible to do it yourself by using an online service onlineindianadivorce.com that will fill out the divorce papers based on the client's answers about the marriage.
Once the paperwork is ready, parties can take it to the local county court to let the clerk stamp it. Or, if a county offers an e-filling system, spouses can file the papers online. It’s required to make at least two copies of the original documents.
Step 3: Serving the Divorce Papers
As soon as a petitioner files the documents with the court, the clerk will stamp them and assign a divorce case number. Spouses should keep track of this number as it should be put on any additional documents that might be adding to the case later.
The next thing a petitioner should do is serve their former spouse. The proper way is to have a sheriff or professional process server deliver them to the ex-partner. Papers can also be sent through certified mail. Another option is to notify a spouse online with the court's e-filing software.
Step 4: Finishing Up the Case
After the divorce papers are filed, processed by the court clerk, and served to the respondent, the divorcing couple has to undergo a waiting period of 60 days until they can submit the final paperwork to the court. In Indiana, it is a Settlement Agreement and a Waiver of Final Hearing. If the couple has underage children, they must also bring child support worksheets and related financial documents. Finally, the petitioner must prepare two stamped, addressed envelopes for any future correspondence that the court clerk must send to the petitioner and respondent or their attorney.
After everything is ready, the clerk will stamp the forms and pass them on to the judge for the final review. If the judge decides that holding a hearing is not necessary, they will sign the divorce forms, thereby completing the case and ending the marriage.
Typical Expenses for Uncontested Divorce in Indiana
According to the Indiana Code (IC 31-15-1-2), couples are allowed to have an uncontested divorce grounded on irreconcilable differences. This means that they will undergo a simplified filing process, requiring a limited amount of documentation and fewer appearances in court. Here are the obligatory procedures in this situation:
Drafting a petition and filing for divorce. If a plaintiff is an Indianapolis resident, they should file this petition with the County Clerk's office. It will cost approximately $180 for the filing fees.
Serving the petition. It will cost around $28 to have the Indianapolis Sheriff's Office ‘serve' the petition to the defendant.
Private Service and Publication Service. Both these costs can vary greatly depending on the location of the divorce process.
Getting a divorce is definitely a time-consuming and nerve-wracking process unless spouses choose the easy way out through peaceful marriage dissolution. Hopefully, all the basic questions about this process in Indiana have been answered to help proceed with a DIY divorce. Even though this type of separation is being executed smoothly, each situation is unique. Don't hesitate to consult a law specialist in case any doubts arise.
Chrissy Ryland - I'm a freelance writer and blogger from Northern California. I grew up loving all things entertainment and travel and now I am blessed with a career that lets me write about both of those topics along with many others. For inquiries about a story you think I might want to cover, please contact me at email@example.com