How long will I have to wait until my divorce is final?

Although each divorce proceeding is as unique as the people involved, the divorce process in Indiana follows a common timeline.

The first step in getting a divorce is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Because Indiana is a “no fault” state, the cause can be a generic claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

A 60-day waiting period

To file for a divorce in Indiana, you must have lived in the state for at least six months and have been a resident in the county where you are filing for at least three months.

The petition for divorce contains the names of you and your spouse as well as your children. It also contains the reason for the divorce (irretrievably broken) and asks the court to dissolve the marriage. The court filing fees vary between counties and usually range between $125 and $150.

After the petition is filed, your spouse will be served with the petition and other paperwork from the county either by a sheriff’s deputy or through certified mail. In a worst-case scenario, the court can notify your spouse of the divorce by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. At that point, the divorce can proceed even if your spouse did not receive the petition.

There is a 60-day mandatory waiting period after the petition for divorce is filed. A judge (not a jury) will hear your case after the waiting period is over, but depending on the case backlog and the difficulty of your settlement, the court date could be as much as one year later.

Custody, support, settlement

During the waiting period, you and your spouse can join your lawyers to work out the details of the separation including child custody, child or spousal support, and settlement of assets and property.

In Indiana, assets brought into the marriage stay with the spouse after the divorce. Assets that accrue during the marriage are split between the couple on as equal a basis as possible.

If there are children involved, the parents must determine who has custody and how to split visitation. It’s best if parents decide such things with their lawyer’s advice, but the decide based on the child’s needs.

If you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce, the marital settlement agreement can be submitted for approval to the court without the need for either party to appear before the judge.

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