Experienced Indianapolis Divorce Attorney Representing Clients Throughout Indiana
When you and your spouse married, you vowed to stick together through thick and thin, through sickness and in health. However, sometimes, irreconcilable differences and conflict lead to the dissolution of a marriage. You are not alone. A whopping 10% of the overall U.S. population is divorced. Marriages that end in divorce typically last just shy of seven years. Less than 20% of married couples stay together. As divorce becomes more and more common, couples begin preparing in advance for a potentially bumpy road by signing prenuptial agreements prior to marrying or drafting marital settlement agreements or child custody agreements when they separate. Even if you are caught wholly off-guard or if you are simply unable to compromise with your former spouse, you can have a successful divorce that allows you to start over again.
A highly skilled Indianapolis family law lawyer at Eskew Law LLC can guide you through the process by assisting you with filing for divorce, inventorying your assets and debts, navigating mediation and arbitration, protecting your children, and advocating for your best interests in court. While divorce is an adversarial process by its very nature, Eskew Law LLC can help remove some of the stress, trauma, and anxiety associated with a divorce by handling the difficult and complex matters. During your first meeting with our seasoned Indianapolis divorce attorney, he will map out your interests, needs, and desired outcome and then draft a course of action tailored to best pursue your goals. To schedule your initial consultation, call our office at (317) 974-0177 today.
Indiana Divorce Overview
In Indiana, divorce is called dissolution of marriage. Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the court does not require that an individual allege fault as the basis for the dissolution. Rather, the filing party may simply state “irretrievably broken” marriage on the petition. The other spouse is unable to block the filing. Therefore, it is not necessary for your former spouse to have cheated, embezzled your money, committed a crime, abused you, or done anything wrong in order for you to file for divorce.
State laws govern divorces and division of assets and debts. However, local county judges handle the individual cases.
In order to file for divorce in a particular county in the state of Indiana, such as Marion County, you or your former spouse must be a resident of Indiana and of that particular county. Residency requirements include:
- Three months of residency in Indiana
- Three months of residency in the county
How to File a Divorce Petition
Once you are ready to file, you must complete the divorce petition. The petition itself can be a court form that is fairly brief and not very detailed. It provides information about the marriage, such as names of spouses and date of marriage, as well as the reason for divorce, which is very vague. Accompanied with the petition must also be a filing fee, which varies by courthouse. Often times, the court will require special divorce classes for families with children, which may also require a fee.
Once your divorce petition is filed, your former spouse will receive a copy and may be permitted to file an answer, though no answer is required. In addition, if a party requests it, a court date may be set to discuss preliminary matters and enter temporary orders such as a temporary child support order.
Types of Divorce
There are two types of divorce: uncontested divorce and contested divorce. Uncontested divorces are called such because there are no outstanding issues for the court to consider and rule on. The divorce is uncontested because:
- You and your former spouse have no property or debts
- You and your former spouse have no children
- You and your former spouse have already agreed on how to settle assets/debts or child issues through written agreements
A marital settlement agreement is a written contract that lists out all marital or community property, who gets what, and who is responsible for which debts. A child custody and support agreement is also a written contract, which states who has custody, when parenting time is to occur, who is to pay child support and what amount, and which parents are responsible for which upbringing activities. There is no difference in filing between an uncontested and contested divorce. Many times, those thinking they have an uncontested matter end up in the most bitter battles, while those who thought their divorce was going to be bitter end up in amicable arrangements. When a divorce is contested, there is at least one outstanding issue that the parties cannot agree on. The court must therefore intervene, review testimony and evidence, and try to make a decision regarding the issue with the best interests of the parties in mind. These issues can involve the division of property, alimony, child custody or parenting time, or child support.
Division of Property
When you marry, your assets comingle with your spouse’s. Think of it like a giant pot – all of your property gets dumped into this pot. Everything in this pot is known as marital property. When you divorce, you or the court must decide how to separate this property. Sometimes, the process is painless; other times, it is hotly contested or downright confusing. This is dependant more on the personalities of the parties and their lawyers and less upon the amount or nature of assets.
Because couples share a 50/50 interest in marital property, the court presumes to divide property equally. However, the court has discretion to be creative with division, including awarding more than 50% of the property to one of the spouses. In any event, it is in your best interest to have an accomplished Indianapolis divorce attorney on your side. Division of property issues arise when:
- One spouse owned the property prior to the marriage.
- The property cannot be easily split in half, such as a piece of land or artwork
- Both spouses want the property and are unwilling to share
- One spouse has dissipated marital assets
- One spouse has gained marital assets through inheritance or familial gift
For example, you and your former spouse purchased a house together after your wedding. You split the mortgage payment. Now, both of you want the house. The court cannot physically saw the house in half and give one half to each spouse. In addition, it is unlikely that you and your former spouse will want to continue living in the house together, sharing it. The court instead will have to determine if (1) the house should be sold and proceeds split or (2) one spouse should get the house. Usually, the spouse receiving real property will have to remove the name of the other from the property and mortgage.
Child Custody and Support Issues
Child custody and support issues are often emotional and highly contested. Both parents commonly want to maintain their full custody of the children, but this is not possible when the marriage is dissolved. The court therefore must keep the best interests of the children in mind when deciding who gets legal and physical custody, what the parenting time schedule is to be, and other important aspects of the children’s upbringing. The court must also use the Indiana child support guidelines to determine who pays child support and how much should be paid. Both custody and support can be later modified by motion upon various showings by the moving party.
Discrete and Hardworking Indianapolis Family Law Lawyers Eager to Assist You with Filing for Divorce
If you are contemplating a divorce, Eskew Law, LLC can help make the process as painless as possible. Our family law attorneys can assist you with filing, negotiating with your former spouse, and handling difficult and emotional issues. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. To speak with a compassionate Indianapolis divorce lawyer today, call Eskew Law LLC at (317) 974-0177.