Preparing for a divorce consultation in Indiana may not be as easy as it sounds. Because attorney’s charge by the hour, even if the initial consultation is free, providing him or her with only relevant facts and information can save them time, and later, you money. This blog discusses how to prepare for your divorce consultation in Indiana, what information your attorney will need, and how to ensure the quickest and best outcome.
The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the statutes governing divorce in Indiana. Two statutes which apply to every divorce concern the division of property. The first of these statutes defines what property can be divided by the court. This property is called marital property1 and includes all property “(1) owned by either spouse before the marriage; (2) acquired by either spouse in his or her own right: (A) after the marriage; and (B) before final separation of the parties; or (3) acquired by their joint efforts.”
The second statute provides for an equal division of the marital property2. This statute also lists a number of factors the court will consider if a party does not believe that an equal division is just and reasonable in their situation. These factors include the contribution each spouse made towards acquiring the property, without regard for contributions that were not income producing, whether the property was acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift, the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property, and the earnings or earning ability of the parties.
Once you have an understanding of how the court divides property during a divorce, you can talk with your spouse and determine if you can reach an agreement as to property disposition. If one cannot be reached, you’ll want to gather any relevant documents such as deeds, bank statements, or titles to take to your consultation. You can put a sticky note on each document which includes the value of the property and who you want to have it. For personal property, such as furnishings and household items, you can create a list or spreadsheet with each item, which party you want to have it, the value of said item, and how the item was acquired (before the marriage or through gift or inheritance). Once your list is complete, add the total value of the property assigned to each party to determine if the values are equal. This will greatly assist your attorney in negotiating a property settlement agreement that will be accepted by the court and give you the best outcome.
When there are minor children of the marriage, you will want to review Indiana’s custody order statute3 as well as the Parenting Time Guidelines and use those as a starting point for negotiations with your spouse on child custody and parenting time. If you cannot reach an agreement on all child rearing issues, make some notes regarding the specific matters upon which you do not agree to take to your initial consultation. This will save both you and your attorney a great deal of time, as the attorney will not need to take notes on everything you say and may later save some headaches that can be caused by common errors made when attempting to listen and write down anything important at the same time.
The day of your consultation, participate in some activity that will help you to remain calm, such as working out, jogging, meditating, etc. Because divorce can be very emotional, you may want to go into your consultation and describe all the ways in which your spouse has wronged you. While issues such as child abuse or domestic violence are relevant, most of the behavior of a spouse during a marriage is not, as Indiana is a no fault divorce state4. It’s no fault grounds, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage are the most commonly used ground and only require one of the parties to say they can no longer live together as husband and wife. So, the best way to handle a divorce consultation is to remain levelheaded and provide your attorney with information and documentation that is relevant and supports your argument on the contested issues.
If you are considering filing for divorce or a case has already been filed, the experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can guide you through the process from initial consultation to issues that may arise after a divorce has been granted. 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.