In Indiana, it is relatively easy to get a divorce compared to some states. Indiana only has a sixty (60) “day cooling” off period and then the parties can get divorced. In some states, the parties have to wait a year to get a divorce. That said, a marriage is a union that was never meant to be broken pursuant to the vows (of some) marriages. Untangling assets and liabilities, as well as determining custody can cause the process to drag on. This blog explores how difficult it is to get a divorce in Indiana.
The place to start with any legal query is the law. To file for and be divorced in Indiana there are several “jurisdictional” requirements that must be met for a party to be divorced by an Indiana court. In order to be divorced in Indiana the marriage must be proven “irretrievable broken.” At the time of filing of the divorce petition at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the state or Indiana or stationed at a United States military installation for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. If the Petitioner is incapacitated, his or her guardian may file the petition for dissolution of marriage in the guardian’s county of residence if the guardian has resided in the county for at least three (3) months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
Presupposing these “jurisdictional requirements” are met, the parties can be divorced on the sixtieth day, but this rarely happens. The reason the parties are rarely divorced in this time frame is because there are contested issues. This noted, this normally then leads to discovery. “Discovery” is legal terminology for getting the necessary information from the other side to know what they need to know to settle the case at mediation or take the case to trial. In domestic cases, these are normally questions, known as Interrogatories, posed to the other side or a request for documents, known as Request for Production of Documents. In addition, Depositions may be taken or documents requested from third-parties, known as Third-Party Requests for Production.
Once Discovery is completed, then the parties are in position to try to resolve their case. This noted, before the court will set a final hearing, it has the authority to and will likely order the parties to mediation. A significant number of cases settle in mediation. The reason for this is because the parties choose to settle on their terms rather than have a judge decide their case. There is certainty in settlement at mediation, unlike trial. Additionally, trials are time consuming and expensive.
Nevertheless, the case must be tried, and it takes a day or more of trial, the trial may be set weeks or months out. Also, in courts that hear civil and criminal cases, your case may be “bumped” just before trial because an incarcerated defendant has a right to a speedy trial. In this case, your matter may be reset for some time down the road. Skilled legal counsel will often elect to choose a first-choice date further down the road to avoid being bumped.
Ultimately, it is not difficult to obtain a divorce in Indiana. The ultimate questions to ask yourself is how hard your spouse will fight you on custody issues or property division. This variable is the elusive one that may make a “simple” divorce case drag on for months and months. This is the only variable your counsel will not have any control over. So an Indiana divorce may well take as long as a divorce in a state that has a year “cooling off” period.
This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates who practice domestic law across Indiana. This blog is provided as general educational material to help make you a more informed legal consumer. The blog is not written to be relied upon in any given matter or issue. This blog is not legal advice. It is an advertisement.