An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree on every issue, and do not need the court to settle any disputes. Uncontested divorce in Indiana is a simpler path to separation as it can make the process go more quickly, save you money, and give both spouses more control over the outcome. This blog explores uncontested divorce, when it is appropriate, and how it can simplify divorce proceedings in Indiana.
When there are considerable assets or substantial disagreement over custody and child rearing issues, an uncontested divorce is not recommended and it is best that you consult an attorney to determine if any agreement reached is in you and your child’s best interests and if court intervention may be required in order to protect your rights. Uncontested divorces are most often successful only when there are no minor children of the marriage and little property to divide.
The first step in obtaining an uncontested divorce is to negotiate an agreement with your spouse. Becoming familiar with the statutes governing the issues in your case can help you determine where to begin negotiations. The statutes governing disposition of property are a good place to start. The first of these statutes describes the property that will be divided by the court, defining this property as marital property (I.C. 31-15-7-4). Marital property includes all property owned by either spouse, whether acquired before the marriage, or by their own efforts or the joint effort of both spouses, during the marriage. The second statute provides a presumption for an equal division of the marital property (I.C. 31-15-7-5), as well as factors that may be considered by the court if an equal division of the property would not be just and reasonable.
If there are minor children, an agreement on custody, parenting time, and child support must be reached before the court will grant an uncontested divorce. While couples may choose a custody agreement which allows for each of them to have equal time with the child, one parent must be named as the primary custodian. The primary custodian is the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time. The other parent, or non-custodial parent, is entitled to a reasonable amount of parenting time with the child (I.C. 31-17-4-1). Parents can use the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines as a starting point for negotiating a parenting time plan that allows the non-custodial parent any amount of parenting time from the minimum up to one day a year less than the custodial parent (Ind. Par. Time pmbl).
Divorcing parents should be aware that Indiana recognizes two types of custody, physical and legal. Unless a court approved agreement or order says otherwise, the parent with primary physical custody also has legal custody. Legal custody grants a parent the authority to make child rearing decisions regarding matters such as education, healthcare, and religion (I.C. 31-17-2-17). The court may award joint custody of a child if it finds that joint custody is in the child’s best interests (I.C. 31-17-2-13). Joint custody is most often awarded when parents live in close proximity and can effectively communicate with one another in order to raise a child from separate homes.
Once an agreement has been reached on all issues, the next step is to put the agreement in writing and sign and file it with the court. The court may then enter a summary dissolution decree without holding a final hearing if (I.C. 31-15-2-13) if it has been at least 60 days since the petition for dissolution was filed and a written waiver of final hearing, signed by both parties, is filed with the agreement. A summary dissolution decree will dissolve the marriage and include the terms of the parties agreement as an order of the court. If you and your spouse have filed for divorce without an attorney, it may be wise, before filing a request for summary dissolution, that you consult an attorney to ensure that your agreement will have the legal effects intended and that your rights are well protected.
Uncontested divorce in Indiana can be a simpler path to separation and the experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help you prepare and file the appropriate pleadings to assure you a faster and less expensive divorce. 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.