How to File For Divorce in Indiana

How to file divorce in Indiana

A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Indiana

Going through a divorce can be a stressful and emotional experience, especially if you don’t understand how the process works.

Although every divorce is unique in one way or another, many divorces in Indiana share the same rules, procedures and forms in common. Once you have a better understanding of what these are, you can move forward with a higher degree of confidence and less stress as you get the answers to the important questions you’re sure to have.

Here are some of the most important things to know when filing for divorce in Indiana:

Gather important information

important information

No matter your circumstances, you will benefit from being organized at the outset when it comes to tracking down the financial documentation that you’ll need.

If you’re not sure how to deal with your finances through the divorce process, check out our article, A Guide to Divorce Financial Planning, to learn all about the best strategies to keep your money in check.

Many parts of divorce can be overwhelming, so any steps you can take to save time and reduce stress and anxiety should be a priority for you early in the process.

To help you gain a better understanding of the types of documents and information you’ll need to pull together, we’ve created a great Divorce Information Checklist you can check out.

How will you proceed with your divorce?

Divorce Procedure to Use

The type of divorce you choose sets the tone for how you will go about reaching a resolution.

In short, you need to have a full understanding of the different types of divorce and how they will shape your settlement negotiations.

Here are a few of the most common divorce process options:

  • Do-it-yourself divorce
  • Mediation
  • Collaborative divorce
  • Litigation

You’re probably wondering which one is best. That’s not a simple answer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Be sure to check out our guide for an in-depth overview on The Types of Divorce. It will answer many of your questions and help you make an informed decision.

Fill Out the Required Forms

Necessary Forms to Prepare

The exact forms you will need to complete and file will be determined by the specific circumstances of your divorce. At a minimum, you will need to file:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Summons
  • Financial Declaration

If you have minor children, you will also need to file a Child Support Obligation Worksheet.

You can download the forms from the Indiana Judicial Branch’s Self-Service Center. If you are working with an attorney, they will guide you through this process.

If you are the one initiating the divorce process, you will be known as the petitioner. If your spouse is the one who files the initial papers, then you will be known as the respondent.

File Your Documents

How Do You File Your Forms for a Divorce

After completing the appropriate forms, you will need to file them with the clerk of the court’s office in your county. You must pay the appropriate filing fees at the time you file. If you and your spouse cannot afford to pay the filing fees, you may request a waiver when you file.

The number of copies you will need to file varies by county, but Indiana has a statewide rule that says any documents containing confidential information (bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, tax records, etc.) must be printed on light green paper.

Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers

Once your forms are filed with the court, your spouse must be notified of the pending action by serving them with a copy of the legal documents.

You cannot personally give these documents to your spouse. They must be served either by a county sheriff or by a paid process server.

Service of process can also be completed by certified or express mail. The county clerk will mail the documents with a return receipt requested and records the facts of the mailing on the appearance docket.

If the spouse cannot be found after a diligent search, then the petitioner can ask the court to serve that person by publication. The clerk prepares a summons which is then published in a local newspaper for a specified amount of time.

The person named in the divorce complaint has 30 days to respond after the last notice of the action has been published. If there is no response, a judgment by default can be entered to satisfy the complaint.

Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Indiana

How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Indiana?

cost to file for a divorce

Filing fees vary by county in Indiana, ranging from $132 to $152 depending on the county where you live. If you have children, you may also have to pay to attend a parenting class for helping children get through a divorce. To find out the exact amount for your county, you will need to contact the courthouse and ask for the amount.

Can divorce fees be waived in Indiana?

It is possible in some instances to have the filing fees waiving for a divorce in Indiana. Check with the courthouse in your county for the requirements and the form you will need to complete to make the request.

Can I file for a divorce online in Indiana?

divorce online

You can do much of the work related to a divorce online, especially in an uncontested divorce, but ultimately forms will need to be submitted in person at your county courthouse.

There are several online services and attorneys who will work with you online to help prep all the necessary forms you will need for your particular situation in Indiana. These entities will then prepare the forms in their office and return them to you for review, either by email, regular mail, or through an actual visit to their offices.

Our favorite resource for a fast and effective online divorce is: 3 Step Divorce.

3 Step Divorce checks all the boxes that make an online divorce worthwhile.

They aim to make it easy – and they certainly deliver.

From step-by-step instructions to unlimited live support, here are just a few of the reasons why 3 Step is our #1 recommended online divorce resource:

  • Affordable
    • $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
  • Flexible
    • Monthly payment options as low as $84/mo
  • Fast
    • Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
  • Informative
    • Library of free tools and resources
  • Supportive
    • Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
  • Instantaneous
    • Immediate access to completed forms
  • Guaranteed
    • Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)

3 Step Divorce Rating

You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.

Better yet, you can Start Your 3 Step Divorce NOW (as low as $84/month).

How long does it take to get a divorce in Indiana?

How long does it take

Once papers have been filed and served, there is a 60-day waiting period before a final decree can be signed by the court. The actual amount of time may take a bit longer depending on the caseload of the local court and the availability of judges to sign the decree.

In divorces where there are disagreements over things such as a division of assets, custody or support issues and a judge must intervene, finalizing a divorce can take considerably longer.

What are the residency requirements to file for a divorce in Indiana?

Prior to filing your Petition for Dissolution, you must reside in Indiana for six months and in the county where the petition is to be filed for 90 days.

Can I file for divorce in Indiana without using a lawyer?

file for divorce without a lawyer

You can complete a divorce in Indiana without using the services of a lawyer. If you and your spouse agree on all the terms related to the dissolution of your marriage, you can submit a written settlement to the court. After a review, the court will grant the divorce without a hearing at the end of the 60-day waiting period.

If you and your spouse disagree on issues or you anticipate that the divorce will be adversarial, then it might be in your best interests to consult an attorney to make sure you are protected.

Can I get a divorce in Indiana if I am pregnant?

divorce while I am pregnant

Yes, but when you petition for divorce, you must reveal if the wife is pregnant. It does not matter if the husband is the baby’s father or not. When granting a divorce, the courts will state in the decree that the baby is “not a child of the marriage.” This means the husband is not responsible for child support or other related obligations.

If you don’t acknowledge that the husband is not the father, then the state has a presumption of paternity that assumes if the baby is born within 300 days after the marriage ends that the husband is also the father.

A divorce can be finalized prior to a baby’s birth, but if the husband is the father, then orders for child support, custody and visitation will need to be revisited in court at a later date.

How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Indiana?

military

Many of the same rules apply to military divorces as they do to civilian divorces in Indiana. The key for many military members is Indiana’s residency requirement, which can be a bit of a challenge due to ongoing redeployments.

A service member must be able to demonstrate that they or their spouse have lived in Indiana or been stationed in the state for at least six months and have lived for at least three months in the county where they intend to file.

Once paperwork has been filed to begin a divorce, copies must be served on a spouse to give him or her a chance to respond. When that spouse is in the military, they have certain protections afforded to them by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This allows them to postpone the divorce while they are overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition due to military service commitments.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act eases many legal and financial burdens of military personnel and their families who face the added challenges of active duty. A service member may choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing off on paperwork which will then allow the divorce to proceed uncontested.

In addition to Indiana property division laws, the federal government also protects military personnel through the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act that governs how military benefits are calculated when a divorce takes place.

Federal laws will not allow a military members retirement to be distributed to a spouse unless the couple has been married for 10 years or more while the service member was on active duty.

The U.S. government will not recognize a division of a military pension if those terms are not met, but what may happen is that courts will assign other assets to a spouse that has an equal value to what the military pension may be worth.

Child support and spousal support are determined by state guidelines, but federal law dictates that child and spousal support awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemember’s pay and allowances if they are single.


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