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Anderson, IN Divorce Attorneys
Divorces are complicated because of the many underlying issues, such as who keeps the house, how do you split the children’s time, who keeps the family pet, and whether one of you should continue to financially support the other. Not only are you ending a romantic relationship, you are ending a familial relationship and dissolving a financial partnership. It takes time and effort to separate all of the practical aspects of your lives. It also takes a fundamental understanding of your legal rights and the willingness to fight for what you are entitled to at the right moments, and compromise in others. Doing all of this requires working with an experienced divorce attorney who will inform you of your rights, and with their objective point of view, help you understand when it is time to fight for what you are entitled to or reach a suitable agreement.
Filing for Divorce in Indiana
In Indiana, you do not need a specific reasons to obtain a divorce. Instead, Indiana is a no-fault state, which means either spouse can petition to dissolve their marriage without providing a reason, such as infidelity or abandonment. The petition may state that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
If you are interested in obtaining a divorce, the first step is to speak with a Muncie divorce lawyer. There are a number of practical considerations to discuss, including where you can file for divorce. You can only file for divorce in Indiana if the state’s courts have jurisdiction over you. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months or be stationed in the military there. For a specific county to have jurisdiction, you or your spouse must have lived there for at least three months. If you and your spouse live in different counties within the state and both counties have jurisdiction, you may file in either county.
Exceptions to a No Fault Divorce
There are a few instances during which you may seek divorce on grounds other than irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Instead, you may claim the divorce is the other party’s fault, if you can establish:
- Either of you were convicted of a felony,
- Impotence existing when the marriage began, or
- Incurable insanity lasting at least 2 years.
If you are experiencing one of these situations, speak with our Anderson divorce lawyers before filing. There may be a benefit to filing for divorce based on fault, there may not. We will discuss your options and which route is better for you and your family.
Division of Property (IC §31-15-7-4)
In Indiana, once you are married, everything you both owned became part of the marital estate. You are both entitled to a share of the property you entered the marriage with and the assets and debts you each obtained throughout the marriage, including the house, savings, investments, retirement, loans, and credit card debt. This is often called the “one pot theory” of property division.
The court’s obligation is to divide the property in a just and reasonable manner. The presumption is that an equal division of the marital property and debt is just and reasonable (IC §31-15-7-5); however, that does not mean the result of your divorce will be a 50/50 split. The court will take into consideration a number of factors before determine who walks away with what and the total value you each obtain. Some of these include each spouse’s contribution to income and property, the property acquired by each of you before the marriage, and each of your current earnings and earning potential. The court will also take into consideration the tax consequences of the division of property (IC §31-15-7-7).
The division of property can be one of the most contentious parts of a divorce. It can also be where many people go wrong and forget about important issues like planning for retirement. Also work with an experienced divorce attorney before agreeing to any type of property settlement.
Spousal Maintenance/Alimony (IC §31-15-7-2)
You or your spouse may also request maintenance, which are financial payments made from one spouse to another after the marriage. The court will consider a number of factors:
- Whether a spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated;
- Whether a spouse cannot work because they are the custodian of a child who is physically or mentally incapacitated and they do not have sufficient property to provide for themselves;
- Whether a spouse interrupted their education, training, or employment to take care of the home, children, or both;
- Each spouse’s earning capacity;
- Each spouse’s education level; and
- The time and expense it would take a spouse to obtain a sufficient education or training to obtain appropriate employment.
If the court finds you cannot financially support yourself in a lifestyle comparable to what you enjoyed in the marriage and that it would be extremely difficult to catch up in terms of education, training, and employment, then the court may order the other spouse to pay you a certain amount of maintenance for up to three years after the divorce is finalized. Whether you want to obtain spousal maintenance or you wish to fight against a request for maintenance, contact a divorce attorney in Fishers, Indiana to discuss your options. At GDS Law Group, LLP, we have offices in Madison, Hamilton, and Marion counties, enabling us to serve your community.
Child Custody and Parenting Time (IC §31-17-2)
You and your spouse have the right to devise your own parenting plan. You know your children better than anyone, so it stands to reason that you can create healthiest situation for them, particularly during an emotionally difficult transition. However, during many divorces, parents fail to agree on what exactly is best for their children or how to achieve the healthiest situation. In this case, contact a divorce lawyer from GDS Law Group, LLP to discuss putting the matter before the court. A judge will determine the child custody and parenting time (visitation) arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.
Child Support (IC §31-16-6)
If you and your spouse share one or more children, then you must not only address a parenting plan but also child support. Indiana determines who pays child support and how much by calculating your weekly adjusted gross incomes, using a premade chart to determine how much you both should spend on your child each week, and then assigning portions of that amount to each of you based on your individually weekly incomes and parenting time.
Calculating the appropriate child support amount may be simple in your situation, or, various factors could make it complicated. If you have any questions regarding child support in Indiana, do not hesitate to contact a divorce attorney at GDS Law Group, LLP.
Resolving a Divorce Through Mediation
To be clear, you and your spouse do not have to settle everything out in court. You may request going through mediation. In Marion or Madison counties, you may be required to try divorce mediation first.
During mediation, you and your spouse talk through your issues under the guidance of an objective third party. The mediator keeps you and your spouse on track and ensures the conversation does not dissolve into an argument. When you and your spouse see eye-to-eye on most things, or you are willing to compromise, mediation can be a great way to work out the division or property, a parenting plan, and alimony.
You and your spouse can also conduct settlement conferences with your attorney’s present. These can take place outside of court and mediation. You two have every right to settle the divorce privately and then submit your agreed-upon settlement to the court for final review.
However, if you and your spouse cannot resolve the issues privately or through mediation, then you must petition the court to make a decision on the various issues. Or, it may be you two could agree on certain issues and not others. Whenever it is up to the court to decide, you can expect a longer and more contentious process.
To discuss the various ways in which you and your spouse may resolve the various issues within the divorce, contact our Carmel divorce attorneys at GDS Law Group, LLP. We can review your situation and discuss whether mediation is right for you and your family.
How Long a Divorce Takes
Once you file for divorce, Indiana requires a 60-day waiting period. After that 60 days, you and your spouse can ask for a final hearing. If you and your spouse have little-to-no property, no children together, and neither of you is requesting spousal support, then you divorce may be over in a matter of months. However, most divorces take much longer than 60 days. Depending on the factors you must negotiate within your divorce or ask the court to decide, it can take over a year or longer. The more you and your spouse agree, the faster the divorce can move forward.
Legal Separation (IC §31-15-3)
Indiana law allows you and your spouse to live apart yet remain legally married during a legal separation. In order to obtain a legal separation, you must go to court. A court can make various decisions regarding property division, maintenance, child custody, and child support for during the separation. Once it is finalized, you and your spouse must abide by the order though your marriage remains intact.
Indiana allows you and your spouse to be legally separated for up to one year, though practically speaking, you can live apart for as long as you like and remain married. After a year, the legal separation ends. You and your spouse need to decide whether or not to file for divorce. If you have not yet made this decision, or you have your reasons for remaining legally married, then it is up to both of you to determine how to manage your finances, child custody, and support.
If you wish to obtain a legal separation from your spouse, contact a divorce attorney at GDS Law Group, LLP right away.
Contact GDS Law Group, LLP Today
If you are interested in learning more about a divorce, or your spouse has already filed for divorce, contact our divorce lawyers at GDS Law Group, LLP today. We understand how difficult this time can be for you. Whether you believe it is the right choice or not, you may feel a myriad of emotions. You are preparing for a whole new life, and we want to help you get there.
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of divorces: with limited or substantial assets, several or no children, and that are friendly or contentious. We are prepared for your situation, whatever it is. Give us a call at 765-313-7092 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.