Indianapolis Divorce Lawyer
Serving Indianapolis, Lawrence, Avon, Greenwood, Carmel and towns and cities throughout Indiana
Everything changes after divorce. As experienced divorce attorneys in Indianapolis, we take great pride in working with clients to help with these changes. Our holistic approach means that we don't let any issue slip through the cracks with your divorce and keep you informed every step of the way.
At the Indiana family law firm of Hocker Law, LLC, we understand the importance of making such a big change in your life. You can depend on an Indiana divorce lawyer at our law firm. We have years of experience handling all aspects of divorce proceedings in Indiana. Talk to our knowledgeable divorce attorney today. Rachel A. East will give your case the attention it deserves.
When you have Rachel A. East working with you, you can rest easy knowing your concerns about your divorce will receive our full attention. We won't hand your case off to a paralegal part way through your divorce proceeding. Our firm has a full legal staff to work with you as a team from start to finish.
We can assist with the following:
- Prenuptial and antenuptial agreements prior to or after marriage.
- Pre-divorce planning, such as guidance on the steps you can take to protect yourself, your children and your property as you move through the divorce process.
- Divorce proceedings.
- Post-divorce matters, including modification of child custody and child support and the enforcement of existing arrangements when your former spouse is not following them.
What are common legal issues involving divorce in Indiana?
Filing for divorce in Indiana can raise a whole host of issues that need to be carefully considered. When you are represented by Hocker Law, LLC, we will help you address each one of them. Some of the most common issues we work with clients on during divorce include:
- Child custody
- Spousal maintenance (Indiana's form of alimony)
- Child support
- Visitation rights (parenting time)
- Property division
We can also address your concerns about estate planning, real estate and even the issue of financial aid for your child's education.
Types of divorce in Indiana
Indiana has many rules and regulations covering divorce, which is officially referred to as dissolution of marriage in Indiana. These rules can be found in Indiana Code, Title 31, Article 15 of the Family Law and Juvenile Law section concerning “Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation.” There are a number of different approaches to obtaining a divorce which can include:
- Collaborative divorce – This type of divorce involves both spouses working with a jointly chosen team of professionals out of court to resolve many of the issues that often come up during divorce proceedings. However, if the two spouses cannot resolve their differences through the collaborative divorce process, lawyers hired during the collaborative process must withdraw from the case and the couple must start the process over in court. Couples often choose to pursue a collaborative divorce since it can cost them less money and be less acrimonious if they can resolve their issues during the collaborative process.
- Uncontested divorce – This type of divorce involves both spouses agreeing on all issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. Instead of litigation, both spouses simply file a settlement agreement with the court that has jurisdiction over the divorce. If the couple has children, both spouses must also file a separate parenting plan with the court as part of an uncontested divorce.
- Contested divorce – This type of divorce involves disputes between spouses who cannot agree on important issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. This type of divorce can be highly contentious and time-consuming, requiring a court trial to decide important issues, such as child custody or how the couple’s assets should be divided. That said, even a “contested” divorce isn’t always acrimonious, and it is often possible to reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation.
- Legal separation – While not the same as divorce, some married couples in Indiana decide to pursue a legal separation. Legally, the couple is still married. However, like a divorce, a legal separation involves requesting a court to rule on issues such as spousal support and child custody. If the couple later decides to get a divorce, the couple must ask the court to convert their legal separation agreement into a divorce agreement.
Individual spouses and couples have a lot to think about and many options to consider in Indiana if they want to dissolve their marriage. This is why it’s important to talk to an experienced divorce lawyer familiar with Indiana’s unique rules and regulations governing the dissolution of a marriage.
How does the divorce process work in Indiana?
There are many steps that need to be strictly followed when filing for divorce in Indiana. Such steps include:
- File a “petition for dissolution of marriage” with the court that has jurisdiction over the case. The petition must be filed with the Marion County Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau in Indianapolis.
- Since Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, one spouse often files for divorce on the ground that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The other spouse cannot block a filing for a no-fault divorce.
- The petition for dissolution of the marriage must be legally served (personally delivered) to the other spouse. Otherwise, the petition cannot proceed in court.
- The court will schedule a hearing to discuss the petition for dissolution of marriage, address any urgent issues and schedule future hearings.
- In order for the court to finalize the divorce and grant a summary dissolution decree without a final hearing, a verified pleading, signed by both parties, must be filed with the court.
- If the divorce has not been finalized at the initial court hearing, divorce proceedings then proceed to the discovery stage (in which both parties gather and share information) and mediation. Indiana courts often require mediation before a final hearing can be scheduled for the divorce.
- If mediation is unsuccessful, a legally binding formal court hearing known as a final hearing will then be scheduled for most divorce proceedings in Indiana. The judge’s decision at the final hearing is legally binding, subject to a proper appeal and reversal by the appellate court, which is very rare.
This is a rough outline for most divorce proceedings in Indiana. Each divorce is different and presents its own unique challenges. Therefore it is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.
Timeline for divorce process in Indiana
Once one spouse or the couple jointly decides to file for divorce in Indiana, there are certain deadlines and timelines which must be strictly followed in order for the divorce to be finalized. Such timelines and deadlines include:
- At least one spouse must be a legal resident of Indiana for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition in order to file for divorce in Indiana.
- At least one spouse must be a legal resident of the specific county where the case is filed for at least 3 months prior to filing the petition.
- There is a 60-day waiting period before a court will finalize a divorce after the court receives a petition for dissolution of marriage. The 60-day waiting period applies even if both spouses agree to all issues related to the divorce.
It’s important to be prepared and not miss any deadlines when filing for divorce or responding to a request from your spouse to dissolve your marriage. This is why it’s critical that individuals talk to an attorney as early as possible in any divorce proceeding.
Why should I hire a divorce lawyer?
Even if you and your spouse agree on all issues related to your divorce, it’s always best to talk to an attorney with an in-depth understanding of divorce law in Indiana. And while many divorce proceedings can start out amicably, they can quickly turn into a contentious legal battle.
By consulting with a lawyer, you can fully understand the options available to you and the legal implications of a wide range of issues involved in a divorce. This is especially important since once your divorce is finalized, the terms are not modifiable except those pertaining to children and support.
Some of the issues that can be divisive during divorce proceedings involve child custody-related issues and how your financial assets are divided. Don’t take these important issues for granted. Talk to a lawyer who knows the law in Indiana and who can work with you to make sure your needs are understood and addressed.
How can an experienced Indiana divorce attorney help me?
We take a thorough approach when representing a client in a divorce. And that process begins during our first meeting, when we take the time to listen to your concerns and focus on developing a strategy aimed at helping you achieve your goals.
We believe divorce should be an opportunity for people to start a new, positive phase in their lives. And we're proud to work with families throughout Indiana who have chosen to make this dramatic change in their lives.