Divorce Procedures: Frequently Asked Questions

This post contains answers to some frequently asked questions about divorce procedure in Indiana.    

What do the terms Petitioner and Respondent mean? 

The Petitioner is the person who filed for divorce. They are called the petitioner because they are the one who originally petitioned the court for the divorce. The Respondent is the person who the petitioner is suing for divorce. They are called the respondent because, once sued, they now have the opportunity to respond to the petition for divorce.  

Does it normally take longer than 60 days to get a divorce?   

Indiana law requires a sixty (60) day “cooling off” or waiting period before a divorce can be granted.1 This does not mean, however, that your divorce will be final sixty (60) days after filing the petition. If there are any contested issues, it might not be possible to resolve them or get a hearing within the sixty (60) day waiting period. Most divorces have contested issues and are rarely completed in sixty (60) days. If there are no contested issues, the final agreement cannot be filed until the 60th day and it may take a little time to get the required signatures so that it can be filed, and then the judge may take a few days to approve the agreement and sign the dissolution decree  

What does it mean that my divorce trial is set second choice? 

A second-choice trial setting means that the court has scheduled another trial for the same time and date as your second-choice trial, and therefore, if the first-choice date proceeds and does not settle, you will be “bumped” for trial. This happens when the court has a case that takes precedence over a divorce trial (such as a criminal trial) but is not sure if the trial in the case taking precedence will actually happen (such as if a criminal defendant takes a plea offer at the last moment).  

What is a motion to continue and what does it mean for the case? 

A motion to continue is filed to reschedule a hearing or trial for a later date. Motions to continue in divorce proceedings may be filed when a party does not have all the evidence required to go to trial or when one of the parties, or their attorneys, has an emergency, illness, or scheduling conflict. While a motion to continue may prolong your case, it is generally not a need for concern and should not affect your case in any other way. Motions to continue are common in divorce cases. 

How do I communicate with my counsel during the divorce proceeding? 

Writing is the best way to communicate with your attorney during a hearing or trial. Most attorneys will come to court equipped with a notebook and pen so that you can write down any thoughts that you may have during the testimony without interrupting the proceedings. They will also write out any questions that they have for you about the testimony being given. Make sure your handwriting is legible.  

If you are, or will be, getting a divorce in Indiana, the attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help fight for your rights. 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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