How Many Days Does It Take to File a Divorce Case in Indiana?

How Many Days Does It Take to File a Divorce Case in Indiana?

All states have a waiting, or cooling off, period before a final hearing can be held for a settlement agreement filed in a divorce. The waiting period is intended to reduce court congestion and the number of parties seeking divorce simply out of anger. This blog explores how many days it takes to file a divorce case as well as Indiana’s cooling off period before a divorce can be finalized.

When filing for divorce, several documents, or pleadings, must be completed and submitted to the court. This includes the petition for dissolution of marriage (as a divorce is called in Indiana), summons, a provisional hearing, if it is requested, as well as a motion to set the hearing. Depending on the contested issues, and if the parties have minor children, a financial declaration and child support worksheet may also need to be filed. If the filing party is unable to pay the court fees, additional pleadings may also be required to have those fees waived. When these pleadings are being filed by one of the parties, without the assistance of an attorney, it can take a few hours to a few days to determine which documents are needed, located and how to properly complete the forms, and then file them with the court. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that the proper pleadings are completed and filed within a few days, or sometimes even the same day the attorney is hired.

Once the court has received all the correct information and pleadings, the parties must wait 60 days from the date the petition for dissolution was filed before a final hearing can be held or a settlement agreement filed, and a summary decree of dissolution issued. When there are no contested issues and the parties wish to file a settlement agreement and waiver of final hearing, they will need to keep track of the 60-day waiting period to ensure that they, or their attorney, submit the agreement and waiver once the waiting period is up. Tracking this time is not something that most attorneys automatically do, and they will need to be reminded as it gets close to the time for filing the agreement. The same is true for contested divorces which require a final hearing; the parties are responsible for requesting that the court set a hearing, or talking to their attorney about setting a hearing, when the 60- day waiting period is getting close to being over.

While the parties to a contested divorce can request a final hearing 60 days after the petition for dissolution is filed, negotiations and discovery may prevent them from being ready for a final hearing. Relevant evidence regarding property division, child custody, parenting time, child support, and/or spousal maintenance must be presented and then the judge will make a determination on all contested issues. Depending on the complexity of the issues, the final hearing may be set for one hour to a few days. Longer hearings will be scheduled further out, as the court will need to have the available time on its calendar. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will either issue an immediate decision on the issues or take them under advisement in order to review the pleadings, testimony, and evidence before making any determinations.

Once a judge takes a matter under advisement, the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure allow him or her 90 days to make a decision. It is not likely that a final determination will take this long to be made and the court might ask the parties attorneys to submit proposed decrees of dissolution or written arguments to help facilitate making the decision. When asking for proposals or arguments, the court generally allows the parties 10 days to prepare and file the requested documents.

As you can see the number of days that it takes to file a divorce case and to finalize the divorce varies depending on the party’s situation and cannot be accurately predicted without consulting an experienced family law attorney. 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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