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Indiana Uncontested Divorce

This information is an overview of the uncontested Indiana divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Indiana.

To file for divorce in Indiana, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months and the county for three months in the court where action is filed. These time periods apply to the period immediately prior to filing.

Grounds for the action include No-Fault, which is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and Fault, which include 1) impotence at the time of the marriage, 2) conviction of a felony, 3) incurable mental illness for two years.

Actions are filed in Superior Court, Circuit Court, or Domestic Relations Court in the county of residence.

The spouse initiating the action is called the Petitioner; the spouse responding is called the Respondent.



A legal separation may be granted when it is "currently intolerable for the spouses to live together, but ... the marriage should be maintained." The state and county residency requirements for a legal separation are the same as for a divorce.

Indiana offers a summary dissolution when the following requirements are met: 1) 60 days have elapsed since the filing of the petition for divorce, 2) the petition has been verified and signed by both the husband and the wife, 3) the petition waives a final divorce hearing, and 4) the petition states that a) there are no contested issues or b) the spouses have a written agreement settling any contested issues.

For couples who have no children and no assets, the following forms must be filed:

> A Summons, which notifies the Respondent of the action and his or her rights;

> An Appearance, which gives the court the particulars of the action;

> A Verified Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which asks the court to end the marriage;

> A Verified Motion for Fee Waiver and Order of Fee Waiver, which is filed by those who cannot afford to pay the divorce filing fees;

> A Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, which is filed when the couple agree to all the terms and conditions of their dissolution;

> A Settlement Agreement and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which is prepared by the couple and filed when they agree on all the terms and conditions of their dissolution.

All the above forms must be filed with the clerk of the court of the county, who assigns the case a number and in some counties assists in the preparation of the Summons, which informs the Respondent that he or she is being sued for divorce. Under Indiana law, 60 days must elapse between the filing and the time when the judge signs an Agreed Entry that ends the marriage without a hearing.

In this routine, if either party is pregnant or in the military, the advice of a lawyer is advised. Courts are reluctant to grant divorces when the wife is pregnant, and a spouse who is in the military enjoys protections from civil litigation under the Servicemembersí Civil Relief Act.

Couples who have not achieved agreement on all issues, including property division and division of debts, must, in addition to the above forms, file the following:

> A Motion for a Final Hearing, and

> A Notice of a Final Hearing.

These forms are required to schedule a final hearing, at which both spouses explain their positions on disputed issues. After the hearing the judge normally makes a ruling and sometimes signs the final decree immediately.

When a divorcing couple with children agree on all issues, the Petitioner files the following forms:

> A Summons, which notifies the Respondent of the action and his or her rights;

> An Appearance, which gives the court the particulars of the action;

> A Verified Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and for Provisional Orders, which asks the court to end the marriage and enjoins the parties from dissipating assets and improperly removing children from the state;

> A Notice of Provisional Hearing, which is a pretrial hearing where the couple presents their respective positions;

> A Child Support Worksheet, which details child support;

> Temporary Order, which are court orders on disputed issues, such as child support and custody;

> A Verified Motion for Fee Waiver and Order of Fee Waiver, which is filed for those who cannot afford to pay the divorce filing fee;

> A Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, which is filed when the couple agree to all the terms and conditions of their dissolution;

> A Settlement Agreement and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which is prepared by the couple and filed when they agree on all the terms and conditions of their dissolution.

Couples with children who are not in agreement on all issues also file:

> A Motion for a Final Hearing, and

> A Notice of a Final Hearing.

The above forms must be filed with the clerk of the court of the county, who assigns the case a number and in some counties who assists in the preparation of the Summons. Under Indiana law, 60 days must elapse between the filing and the divorce decree. A provision hearing is normally scheduled seven days after the filing of the divorce papers.

At the provisional hearing, the Petitioner also must present the following forms:

> The Child Support Obligation Worksheet (CSOW), which deals with child support;

> The Parenting Time Credit Worksheet (PTCW),

> Form #6, Provisional Order, which are temporary court orders dealing with disputed issues;

> Any other forms required by local court rules, including a financial declaration.

At the provisional hearing, the judge issues any temporary orders on such issues as child support, child custody and parenting time.

At the final hearing, both spouses are given a chance to speak, with the Petitioner going first.