How to File For Divorce in Indiana
The laws of Indiana term divorce as dissolution of marriage. It refers to the legal dissolution of an existing marriage union between two living parties. Article 15, Title 31 of the Indiana law Code gives interpretation and regulation to divorce cases in the state.The Domestic Relations Court Divisions across counties in the state handle petitions for the dissolution of marriage. According to the US Census Bureau, Indiana ranks the sixth highest in divorce rates across the federation at 9.9 divorces per 1000 women of ages 15 years and older. A ten-year earlier report (2008) shows that the rate of divorce in 2018 dropped by 1.9 per 1000 women 15 years old and older.
Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Indiana?
According to the laws of Indiana on divorce, petitioners can file for a dissolution of marriage on fault or no-fault grounds (IC 31–15–2–3). Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the common reason for no-fault grounds for divorce in Indiana. Other recognised fault grounds for divorce include:
- A felony conviction by one party that took place after marriage: if a person gets convicted for a felony and is due to serve time in imprisonment or execution, the spouse can file for a dissolution of the marriage by law.
- Incurable sanity of one spouse that has lasted for at least 2 years, with medical proof
- Impotence that occurred at the time of marriage: in many cases, the affected partner withheld the information, or assured that it was curable.
Other reasons for divorce may not be acceptable by the laws of the State. Rather, other faults must sum up in an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Parties who got married in another state to evade Indiana laws on marriage cannot return to the state for divorce. The filing party must also demonstrate that the grounds for divorce took place during their residence in the state.
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?
The laws that pertain to divorce could get really complex. Getting a divorce attorney is a decision either party has a right to take. Because of their expertise and experience, they stand a better chance of protecting the interest of their client. If a divorce process involves assets or minor children, there lies a potential basis for disagreements. Under such circumstances, it is best to get a divorce lawyer.
How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Indiana?
To qualify for filing a petition for dissolution of marriage in Indiana, the filing spouse must satisfy the following residency requirements six months to the time of filing (IC 31–15–2–6):
- One party is a resident or stationed at the US military installation in the state
- Filing must happen in the county where either party has been resident for at least 3 months.
- There should not be any pending divorce process on the same case in another county or state.
Having met the above requirements, the following is the step-wise procedure of a divorce process in Indiana:
- Filing of petition for Dissolution of Marriage: the petitioner usually one party starts a process of divorce by filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage with the relevant county court. If they are yet to undergo a legal separation, the date of filing for a divorce represents the legal date of their separation. This date is important in working out the details of division of assets.
- Notification of the receiving party: according to the Indiana Code 31–15–2–8 the filing party must serve a copy of the summons to the other party. The filing party can serve them by certified mail, in person, an affidavit or through the services of a process server. If the filing spouse cannot locate the other party, he or she can request to serve the summons by publication. The filing party must explain to the court that the receiving party is nowhere to be found. If the court approves it, then the filing party runs the notice three times in the newspaper permitted by law to run notices in the area where the receiving party last resided.
- Waiting cycle: the divorce laws of Indiana impose a minimum 60-day waiting period after filing the petition before the divorce gets granted by the court.
- Provisional court hearing: where there is a contested divorce, parties may not come to an agreement on some or all the issues pertaining to the process. Therefore, they court schedules a final hearing. The issues brought before the judge in a hearing include assets division, spousal maintenance, child custody, visitation or parenting plan, and child support. The judge bases decisions on the evidence that the parties present at the court.
- Discovery: the discovery stage can happen much earlier, that is, after the filing of the petition of dissolution of marriage or any other time. It is a process that involves the collection of evidence by one party from the other. Some methods of collection include deposition (a lawyer questions the other party under oath about related topics to the case). The event usually takes place in the presence of a court reporter who types it up into a transcript. Other collection methods are interrogatories and production requests.
- Motions: the stage of motions means the parties ask the court to decide regarding a particular issue or take specific actions. For instance, the court can issue a mandate to the parties to attend a mediation class. Another example is a court motion to force a party to comply with a previous court order, also known as the motion for contempt. The court can file these and many more motions during or after the case as occasion demands..
- Mediations: although recognised by the legal authorities, it is a non-legal way of resolving disputes between couples. Mediations can go on with the purpose of salvaging a marital breakdown. Another reason for it is the need to resolve disagreements concerning issues in terms of settlement. Among them are property settlements, debt division, child and spousal maintenance, etc.
- Settlement: settlement agreements refer to that stage where all parties agree on divorce related issues. If they do so on every count, rather than have another trial, both parties sign a waiver of final hearing to notify the court of their resolution.
- Final hearing: if an agreement does not happen at the point of settlement, a final hearing becomes necessary. It is a trial where the judge decides regarding the pending disputes.
- Issuance of dissolution decree: the court enters a decree of dissolution after issuing a court ruling in favor of the divorce.
- Appeals: the Indiana rules of Appellate Procedure government appeals on court orders issued after a divorce.
How to File for Divorce in Indiana Without a Lawyer?
Self representation is possible in an uncontested divorce. If both parties consent to the divorce and agree on all associated matters, they may not be a need for attorney representation. Self-representation is also possible in a contested divorce on preference, although it comes with risks. If there are contiguous issues that will require a trial in the criminal court the use of an attorney may become necessary.
How Does Indiana Divorce Mediation Work?
The laws of the state recognize Mediation (Chapter 9.4, Article 15, Title 31) as an alternative resolution route of a divorce process. To put it differently, either party can file a motion with the court for counseling to improve the conditions of their marriage. Mediation in Indiana may extend to providing counsel and support to the child involved in the marriage. The court may also mandate the parties involved to go for mediation classes in order to arrive at a settlement as per adjacent matters. The ability of the parties to pay for the mediation classes and its relevance to the case come into consideration when taking a decision. The court does not insist on joint counselling of both parties if there is evidence to show a pattern of domestic violence of by one of them. The services of mediation in Indiana are usually by a neutral attorney.
How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Indiana?
The statutory time frame imposed by law is 60 days. Because mediation can take place anytime during the process of a divorce, the finality of the process does not depend on mediation. However, the outcome of a mediation can either strengthen the resolve to proceed on a divorce or provide an atmosphere of restoration for the marriage. If mediation leads to the signing of the settlement agreement, then the process skips a final hearing and proceeds to the court ruling a divorce decree. The outcome of mediation may also mean the withdrawal and subsequent dismissal of the case in court.
Are Divorce Records Public in Indiana?
Indiana divorce records are public information. Put in another way, a resident can request to view or copy a divorce record. Third-party requesters can only access plain paper copies. Certified copies are available only to persons with a legal right to the record. They include the persons listed in the record, their immediate family members, representing attorneys, and any other person granted permission by the persons listed in the record. The state authorities also have executive rights to the divorce record of an individual in a state.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How do I Get Indiana Divorce Records?
To get an Indiana divorce record, have ready the following information:
- The complete names of the persons listed in the record
- The specific divorce date
- The female divorcee’s maiden name
The Domestic Relations Court Division, with current jurisdiction on the case, sets up and keeps divorce records in Indiana. It could be a Circuit or a Superior Court. Confirm this information before submitting a request. One way to find out is to locate the county where the filing party lived during the divorce process. Contact the court for details about getting divorce records. The fees vary by county. Note that certified copies are available only to individuals who can show a legitimate interest in the record. Otherwise, go to mycase.IN.gov and search for non-confidential divorce records by using case information ID, the names of involved parties or their attorneys. Case information based searches require the case number, citation number or cross reference numbers. Name searches will need the full names of a listed party, their date of birth, or business name. Searches by attorneys involve the full names of the representing attorney and their bar numbers. All search options allow users to record a voice note that sounds like the name of the relevant persons. Note that not all courts in Indiana use the Odyssey Case Management System. Confirm this by looking up the list of courts that use it.