Where can I download a Financial Declaration? Back to Top
- For your convenience the Financial Declaration form may be found Here.
Where can I find the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines? Back to Top
- You may find the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines Here.
What Grounds Do I Need? Back to Top
- Indiana has adopted the concept of “no-fault” divorce, making it generally unnecessary to prove cruelty, adultery, etc., in order to obtain a divorce. The usual ground is to show the court that an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage has occurred because of discord or conflicts of personality that have destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and will prevent any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. “Irretrievable breakdown” is an advanced case of not getting along with each other.
Should I try legal separation before divorce? Back to Top
- While in some instances a form of legal separation is possible, it is not generally used by our office. Legal Separation provides you and your spouse approximately one year to strengthen your marital relationship while providing legal protection for your property and children. If you are not ready for a divorce, but would like to talk things over with someone, we recommend counseling services and not legal services.
How long must I live in Indiana before filing for divorce? Back to Top
- Prior to filing your Petition, you must have resided in Indiana for six (6) months and in the county where the Petition is to be filed for at least three (3) months. There are limited exceptions which may apply if you do not qualify under this general rule.
What happens first when a divorce is filed? Back to Top
- The first step is the preparation and filing of the Petition. The Petition basically states the names of the husband and wife, the names and ages of all children born or adopted during your marriage, when you were married, when you were separated, that the residency requirement has been satisfied, and that your marriage should be dissolved. It also asks the Court to name a custodial parent of the minor child(ren) of the marriage; and if you and your spouse cannot agree, to provide for child support, parenting time, property division and attorney fees. If your spouse has already filed for divorce, please be sure to bring a copy of the papers you received either through Certified Mail or by the Sheriff.
Does it matter what Court hears my divorce? Back to Top
- Generally, no, it does not matter what Court hears your divorce
When should we separate? Back to Top
- There is no legal requirement for actual residential separation before filing the Petition. Thus, the decision to physically separate is up to you and your spouse. The Court can also determine separation.
Who should file for divorce? Back to Top
- There is no legal significance to who files the Petition, although there may be procedural and tactical advantages for the Petitioner. Pride is another matter. If you feel safe, talk it over with your spouse to decide who will file. This will avoid a race to the courthouse and additional hurt feelings over such a trivial issue.
How long do we have to wait before our divorce is final? Back to Top
- No divorce can be granted until at least 60 days has passed from the date of filing the Petition. This is a minimum interval. Our experience indicates a normal interval of about 90 days for uncontested divorces and up to 18 months or more for contested divorces. During the waiting period, we will be trying to help you work out the details of custody, parenting time and property settlement.
- After the Petition is filed, the other spouse must receive proper notification. Two common ways to do this is: (1) Ask the Sheriff to hand deliver a copy of the Petition to your spouse, or (2) Have a copy sent to your spouse through Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Sometimes having the Sheriff hand deliver papers to your spouse results in embarrassment and anger. An alternative to hand delivery or certified mail is to have your spouse sign a document entitled, “Waiver of Summons.” A Waiver of Summons acknowledges receipt of a copy of the Petition. Our policy is to attempt to use the Waiver process. Don’t let your spouse worry you by refusing to sign a Waiver. It is no trick for us to obtain service of Process.
- In the past, the wife was almost always guaranteed custody of her children. As the years have gone by, however, Courts have focused their attention on the best interests and welfare of the child. While joint physical custody is still somewhat rare, we do encourage open communication between you and your spouse regarding major decisions which will affect your child(ren). The Courts generally do not grant joint physical custody to a couple who are not willing to agree to every aspect of the joint custody agreement. If you are unable to communicate with each other at this point, joint legal custody may also not be a viable solution for you. Disagreement regarding custody and parenting time is guaranteed to put you right in the middle of a bitterly contested and expensive divorce. Open communication is the key to a successful divorce. It is a common “myth” in the State of Indiana that the State is a “Mom’s” state. By default, both legal parents have equal rights and authority over the children. While it is true Court’s generally issue more order’s granting Mother’s custody of their child(ren), that is because Mother’s request it more than Father’s. In cases where a Mother and a Father are requesting full custody of the child(ren), the Court’s decide on the child(ren)’s best interest, and the Court’s grant custody to the Father just as much as the Mother
How often should parenting time occur? Back to Top
- If you and your spouse can agree on the details of parenting time, the Court will usually approve the plan you have worked out. The Court has adopted a guideline for parenting time which includes: alternating weekends, one-half of the summer, some time around birthdays, alternating weeks during winter break and other holidays, plus additional or different times as you may agree upon. The policy of our office is to encourage liberal parenting time, except in extraordinary circumstances. Again, open communication is the key to making parenting time beneficial for not only yourself, but also for your children.
How much child support will be ordered? Back to Top
- The Court has established a guideline on which the amount of child support is based. The Courts require that the guideline amount of support be paid unless extraordinary circumstances exist. In determining the amount of child support, the needs of the child(ren) and the financial picture and earnings of each parent are considered. The Court can require support of a child until the age of 19 or until he is emancipated. If you have a child with mental or physical disabilities, be sure to let us know as it may be possible to have support continue after this child reaches his 19th birthday.
How will the property be divided? Back to Top
- Indiana Law requires that the Court divide all of the property of the parties, regardless of whether that the property is owned by either person before or after the marriage, or acquired by their joint efforts. The statute goes on to say that this property shall be divided in on a 50-50 basis, by either dividing that property in some fashion or by requiring one of the parties to pay to the other a sum of money. One thing is clear: liabilities, as well as assets, must be considered. Other factors include the nature and extent of the property and the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property; the duration of the marriage; and the economic circumstances of each spouse. In some cases, gross misconduct by a spouse can be considered.
What about our pensions? Back to Top
- Your pensions must necessarily become part of the property settlement. We usually suggest that you contact your human resources office immediately after you file the divorce to obtain your pension information. Obtaining this information early will avoid problems on down the road.
Can I get temporary relief? Back to Top
- If your spouse is being physically abusive to you or to the child(ren), refuses or fails to provide reasonable support or to give you information concerning the property, or refuses to permit reasonable parenting time, the Court will hear your evidence and determine whether or not you can get this relief while your case is pending. The Court can require both you and your spouse to file a complete inventory of all the property and can restrain you both from physical abuse to each other or to the child(ren). Among other things, the Court can order temporary custody, parenting time, support, maintenance, possession of the marital residence, and attorney fees. The Court can also issue an order which will restrain your spouse from disposing of any assets which either of you, or you as a couple have accumulated during your marriage. If you need this type of temporary relief, be sure to let us know during your first appointment.
Is my divorce contested or noncontested? Back to Top
- Your divorce will be contested unless you and your spouse agree on every issue, including whether or not a divorce should be sought. If possible you and your spouse need to discuss everything regarding child custody, support, medical and dental insurance for the child(ren), who will pay the uninsured medical, dental, optical, and prescription expenses for the child(ren), educational expenses for the child(ren), your bills, furniture, cars, the house, who will pay the attorney fees, and even who gets the household pets. If you and your spouse are able to agree in writing on all of these issues, you will not have to go to court.
What about spousal maintenance after the divorce? Back to Top
- The Court can order post-dissolution spousal maintenance under very specific circumstances. If this is something you want or are concerned about, please discuss it with us during your initial consultation.
How much are Court costs, and what other expenses can I expect during my divorce? Back to Top
- Court costs vary by county; however Marion County’s filing fee’s start at $158.00. If the case progresses into needing depositions or investigators, it is not uncommon for a client to have to pay approximately $500.00 or more in addition to his regular attorney fees to have this type of discovery completed on his case. You must pay for these items as the expenses arise. It is not our policy to finance cases for our clients. We will always let you know whether or not these additional expenses will be needed, and you will always have the opportunity to tell us not to have additional services completed.
How much are attorney fees? Back to Top
- The exact fee will vary with the services you require. Our basic divorce services include our initial conference, the preparation and filing of your divorce papers (or the review of any papers filed by your spouse), obtaining information from you regarding your assets, liabilities, income and expenses, making recommendations concerning property division, and matters relating to your child(ren), routine settlement negotiations with your spouse’s attorney, preparation or review of Property Settlement and Support Agreement; preparation or review of Divorce Decree, and attending possibly two or more court hearings to have the case finished. The fee for these services generally ranges between $1,500.00 and $3,000.00. A more exact range can be estimated at your first appointment. Additional fees are charged as outlined in our agreement for services. If you have any questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to ask. The husband can sometimes be ordered to pay a portion, if not all, of the wife’s attorney fees. However, if the Wife is the primary breadwinner she may be ordered to pay a portion or all of the Husband’s fees. If you are the wife, you are responsible for paying our agreed fees and we will give you full credit for any payments made by your husband. We require a deposit at the time of the initial interview and full payment by the time of the final hearing. Credit terms can be arranged in some cases. We will discuss our fee with you at this first meeting.
Can one lawyer represent both parties to the divorce? Back to Top
- No, however if the opposing party wishes to represent themselves, that is a possibility. In these cases, there are many “rules” that we require you both to follow. If you are interested in this, please let us know.
We do not believe it is either practical or ethical for a lawyer to represent conflicting interests. In those isolated instances where you and your spouse have agreed on everything, it may be possible for us to do all of the legal work. To make this determination, both spouses must come into the office together to discuss the terms of all agreements reached by you. Even if it looks like you will agree, we follow the policy of representing only one spouse, and if you and your spouse disagree later, we will continue to represent you unless we have been directed otherwise.
What if we reconcile after the divorce is filed? Back to Top
- It may seem that divorce is the only solution to your situation. You may later find that it is not. After a divorce action is commenced, you may decide to change your mind and try to work things out. Our policy is to encourage efforts toward reconciliation. You will owe only for those services actually performed up to the time that your divorce is dismissed. We will review our time sheets and determine whether or not you will receive a refund or if there is an amount due. We firmly believe in being fair to the client in this respect and by the same token, we appreciate the client being fair to our profession by not changing his mind several times after the appropriate action has been taken to dismiss his divorce.
Can a wife’s name be changed through the divorce? Back to Top
- A wife’s former name may be returned to her as part of the final decree at no extra charge. We generally suggest that this be limited to the restoration of the maiden name when there are not any children, or to the restoration of a former married name when there are children of that former marriage. If you want this service, you must let us know during your first appointment.
When is the divorce final? Back to Top
- Your divorce will be final the day it is granted in Court or on the day the Judge signs the Decree, if that date is later.
- You may not marry anyone until a divorce decree is approved by the Court.
What about dating or living with someone? Back to Top
- You may date someone only without your children present. We all know this is not the Victorian Era, but your spouse might use it against you if you are in the midst of a custody battle. If you are already involved or can’t resist, you must make your own decision. We are not in the business of telling you how to conduct your personal life. You are an adult and as such, you must be prepared to accept the responsibilities and consequences of your decisions. You must be honest with us when we ask you whether you are dating or living with someone other than your spouse. We do not like courtroom surprises.
Is a final hearing necessary? Back to Top
- In uncontested actions it is possible to obtain your divorce without having to go to court. Both you and your spouse will have to sign the Decree for Dissolution of Marriage and a Waiver of Final Hearing. The Waiver represents to the court that you and your spouse have settled all issues between you and that there are no contested issues.
What information will be held confidential? Back to Top
- We have to know all the facts surrounding your case to represent you in the manner you expect. You may have to answer some difficult questions from time to time. We may have to tell you some things you may not want to hear. In either case, we need you to be completely honest with us to avoid any embarrassing moments in the Courtroom. Any information given to anyone in this office is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone without your expressed permission.
How will you keep me informed? Back to Top
- We will make every effort to keep you informed. You will receive copies of all documents prepared or received by us. Because of the nature of the legal business, the attorney will not always be conveniently available to answer your questions. One of the members of our non-legal staff is, however, usually available to give you information or to take messages. Try to work with them. It will make things easier for you and will keep the cost of your divorce down. My support staff cannot, however, answer your legal questions. They will inform you when you have asked them something they cannot answer. If you have legal questions that need to be answered, please speak to the attorney and we will either deal with the matter through a telephone consultation or set up a time for you to come into the office.
What is the extent of professional services offered? Back to Top
- In performing legal work for you, we provide experienced attorneys, competent staff support, and modern equipment. Your legal problems are given our continuing personal attention in an effort to obtain the best results possible in the most reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost. Although we are interested in helping you resolve your personal problems, we are not trained to provide counseling services. We can refer you to competent counselors if you desire that service.
What are my responsibilities as a client? Back to Top
- We expect you to be cooperative and truthful. If you fail to cooperate or be honest, we will not continue to represent you. We also expect you to handle your financial commitments with our office in a prompt and business-like manner. More information regarding our billing procedures and expectations can be obtained during your first appointment. You must also notify us of any change in address or telephone. Should you learn anything that may affect your case, it is your responsibility to let us know.
What about advice friends and family give? Back to Top
- Your friends and associates may offer you advice about your case. Their advice is not always accurate and you should be cautious in following it. Our attorneys always make an effort to answer all of your questions and give you all the information you need pertaining to your case. The facts surrounding your marriage, divorce, children and property are unique. Divorce proceedings are very emotional and people sometimes use a divorce proceeding to seek revenge. Parents may also use the children in an attempt to punish the other parent. Prepare your children properly for your divorce without poisoning their minds about your spouse. Children are placed in the middle of their parents’ divorce too often. Your children need to be your main concern, and you must do everything you can to protect them without placing them right in the middle of your battle. We recommend family counseling if it is possible. We have an active list of reasonably priced professionals who can help you and your children during this difficult time. Be fair to yourself and to your children when discussing your divorce with your spouse. Your children are the Court’s main concern in dissolving your marriage; they should be your main concern as well.
Should new wills be prepared after the divorce? Back to Top
- The Indiana Probate Code invalidates certain provisions of wills which were made prior to a divorce. Following the divorce, you and your spouse will probably need new wills. If you wish to pursue this, please ask. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you during such a difficult time. Thank you for your trust and confidence. We will do our best to provide you the best legal representation possible.
Notice: The laws governing legal advertising in the state of Indiana require the following statement in any publication of this kind: "THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT.The information contained on this website is not tailored to the situation of any individual, is not intended to be legal advice, and should not to be considered legal advice. The Law Office of Gaddy & Gaddy does not represent you prior to consultation and written agreement, or court appointment.© 2012 Gaddy & Gaddy