How a Skilled Attorney Can Protect Your Interests

Many couples today are opting to divorce without attorneys using do it yourself divorce packets sold on various websites or forms provided by their county clerk’s office or the State of Indiana. However, even if you and your spouse have reached a full agreement, divorcing without an attorney may not be in your best interest. This blog explores why you need a divorce attorney in Indianapolis and how a skilled attorney can protect your interests.

Free divorce forms distributed by the state or local courts as well as divorce packets available online for a fee generally come with instructions that can help most anyone complete and file the appropriate documents to get divorced without the assistance of an attorney. It is important to understand that because only a licensed attorney can give legal advice, these instructions are meant only to give parties an explanation of what information is being requested, and not what should be included in order to protect either parties interests (Indiana Judicial Branch). Even if you and your spouse have reached a full agreement, failing to consult an attorney before divorcing is often a bad idea. A skilled attorney can review your agreement, make you aware of any consequences of the agreement you may not have foreseen or might have neglected to consider and help you to ensure that the final agreement will result in the outcome you really want. 

Aside from unforeseen consequences or issues that a settlement agreement may have failed to consider, an experienced attorney can also evaluate your agreement for areas where you may be giving up some of your rights or interests due to a possible lack of knowledge about one or more of Indiana’s divorce laws.  For example, Indiana’s definition of martial property includes all property of the parties whether owned before the marriage, acquired during the marriage by one party in his or her own right, or acquired through the joint effort of both parties (I.C. 31-15-7-4). A party unaware of this definition may agree to taking only the property they owned before the marriage or purchased on their own during the marriage, when they may be entitled to a significantly larger share of the assets. 

A skilled divorce attorney is knowledgeable about every aspect of divorce law including asset division, spousal maintenance, child custody, parenting time, and child support. They can help you identify the contested issues, what exactly the disagreement on these issues are, and negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to settle all possible issues outside of court. This can help reduce the amount of conflict between you and your spouse during the divorce proceedings, lower your level of stress, and keep the proceedings from dragging on for months or even years. Your attorney will also be able to help you obtain any documents or information from your spouse or third parties that may be required to determine the appropriate amount of alimony or child support, if any deviation from an equal division of the assets should be made, or if your spouse is hiding assets. Having an experienced attorney on your side is probably most important for parents who disagree on custody and parenting time. 

Child custody in Indianapolis is decided based on the best interests of the child. Indiana’s custody order statute provides a list of factors the court must consider when determining a child’s best interest (I.C. 31-17-2-8). A skilled attorney will know what evidence is needed to prove any of these factors that may apply in your case, as well as any other factors the particular judge might consider in addition to the ones listed in the statute. 

Finally, a considerable knowledge of the rules of evidence is essential to obtaining a desirable outcome at final hearing. A lack of knowledge about the rules of evidence can lead to the exclusion of evidence that is critical in proving or disproving important facts or allegations. It may also result in your spouse presenting evidence harmful to you that otherwise would not be admissible. A party must be aware of many different rules for when and how particular types of evidence should be submitted to the court and how to properly and timely object to the admissibility of evidence submitted by the other party in order to create a record of evidence most favorable to them. 

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.


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