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Indiana Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers
All Indiana divorces require the following forms:
There are also forms based on the type of case. These include:
Filing the Paperwork with the Court
The petitioner files the divorce paperwork with the clerk of court's office in his or her county. Each county has its own rules regarding how many copies must be filed; however, a statewide rule requires any documents containing confidential information to be on light green paper. Indiana defines confidential information as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, tax records, PIN numbers, medical records, and child abuse records.
Serving the Documents
After filing, the petitioner serves the respondent with copies of the divorce paperwork. Service of process gives the other person an opportunity to file an answer, counterclaim, or both. Indiana law permits service via certified mail, private process server, or sheriff's service.
After service, the spouses can try to work out an agreement.
Disclosing Financial Information
In the period between the initial filing and the final hearing, both sides must exchange financial information, including a list of all income, assets, and debts.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is generally much less expensive than seeing a case all the way through to trial.
Spouses who handle the issues file a settlement agreement with the court. The agreement addresses all the items in the divorce petition, including the distribution of assets and debts. If there are children, the spouses must also file a parenting plan that designates which parent will have custody and how each side will exercise visitation.
Finalizing the Divorce
Whether or not the spouses reach agreement or go forward with trial, Indiana imposes a 60-day waiting period before a court grants a final decree ending the marriage. However, it could take longer than 60 days, depending on the issues and the court’s schedule.
Indiana permits for a no-fault divorce due to irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, state law permits only three grounds for a "fault" divorce: a felony after the marriage, impotence at the time of the marriage, or incurable insanity for at least two years. Grounds for divorce in Indiana are limited compared to most states.
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