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DivorceWriter ranks Indiana among the top 3 easiest states for getting an uncontested divorce.
Before you can file for divorce in Indiana, at least one spouse must live in-state for a minimum of six (6) months and in the county where the divorce will be filed for a minimum of three (3) months. It doesn't matter which spouse meets the residency requirement. This means that a spouse living outside Indiana can file for divorce in Indiana as long as the spouse meets the residency requirement.
At just 90 days, Indiana's mandatory waiting period is relatively short comparatively speaking, which could be a major advantage if one spouse lives in a state with a mandatory waiting period or separation requirement that is longer than 90 days. For example, let's say a couple has minor children together and one spouse meets the residency requirements in Indiana. Assume that the spouse who wants to file for divorce lives in neighboring Michigan, which has a 6-month waiting period in divorces involving minor children. Since Indiana only has a 3-month waiting period in all divorce cases, with or without children, under these circumstances filing in Indiana would allow this couple to get divorced three months sooner than in Michigan.
As another example, assume we still have one spouse meeting the residency requirement in Indiana, but this time the spouse who wants to file for divorce moved from the marital home in Indiana to bordering Illinois three months ago. While the Illinois spouse meets the 90-day minimum in-state residency requirement to file for divorce in Illinois, there's still a problem because Illinois no-fault divorce requires spouses to live separate and apart at different residences for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. This means that to file for divorce in Illinois, the spouses must wait three more months to meet the separation requirement. However, they can file for divorce in Indiana now and be divorced before they could even file for divorce in Illinois.
Some states have one set filing fee for divorce that applies in all counties in that state. In other states, including Indiana, the filing fee charged by the Court Clerk's office when a new divorce case is filed varies by county. Luckily, in most Indiana counties, the filing fee is between $130 and $160, which is reasonable when compared to the rest of the country.
The good news is that no matter where you live in Indiana, if you can't afford the filing fee charged by your county's Court Clerk's office, you can file a Verified Motion for Fee Waiver, which is just a document that tells the Court that you don't have sufficient income to pay the filing fee and shows your monthly income and expenses. You'll file this Motion when you file your divorce papers and if the judge grants your request, you won't be required to pay the filing fee. If the judge denies your request, you'll need to submit the filing fee in full before your case can proceed.
If you use DivorceWriter to prepare your own divorce papers, we'll provide you with the required fee waiver documents for free upon request as part of your purchase.
When you file for divorce in Indiana, your paperwork includes a Summons, which tells your spouse that you have filed for divorce and letting him or her know their rights and obligations as a Respondent in a divorce case. Unlike most states, which require the filing spouse (Petitioner) to be responsible for serving divorce papers on the non-filing spouse (Respondent), in Indiana, the Summons automatically tells the Court Clerk that you would like that office to handle service by mailing the divorce papers to the Respondent by registered or certified mail. All the Petitioner has to do is mail a copy of the Petition to the Respondent.
In some states, getting a divorce when the non-filing spouse is in the military can require additional hoops. At a minimum, the military spouse usually must sign a waiver of his or her rights for the divorce to proceed. However, in Indiana, since both spouses already sign the Verified Waiver of Hearing as part of the uncontested divorce process, no additional paperwork is needed.
As is the case in most states, the state legislature created a set of guidelines to govern the child support calculations. In Indiana, the guidelines basically look at the number of children to be supported and the gross income of the spouses (less certain deductions--namely support paid for other children or alimony paid to prior spouses) to arrive at the standard child support calculation. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines are a complex set of rules intended to arrive at a child support amount that the State of Indiana thinks should be in the best interest of the minor children under the financial circumstances of your family.
However, you are not required to use the guideline amount. In fact, when spouses agree that a higher or lower child support amount, also referred to as a "deviation," is best for their children, judges usually accept that amount unless it appears that it will clearly not be in the best interest of the children. If you use DivorceWriter, you can either accept the guideline child support amount or enter an amount of your choosing, including no support at all, if desired.
With parenting time, which is the term Indiana uses for parental visitation with the minor children, you can either follow the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, or customize your own plan. The DivorceWriter online interview has the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of parenting time arrangements, from significant parenting time for the non-custodial parent down to no parenting time at all. As with child support deviations, if neither parent objects to the arrangement, the Court will usually go along with it as long as it does not appear to be counter to the best interest of the children.
Getting divorced is never an easy time for anyone. Adjusting to changes in living arrangements, divided income and increased expenses, and learning to co-parenting can all be tremendously stressful. The upside though--at least for Indiana filers--is that the divorce process in your state is among the easiest in the country, which makes representing yourself in divorce without an attorney a very reasonable undertaking for most Hoosiers.