Nowadays, more and more people refuse contesting a divorce. Contested divorce usually makes dissolution a real drama – all these court battles and long-term disputes deplete both nerves and wallets. Huge expenses on attorneys’ fees make a lot of couples to wonder if it possible to cope with a divorce without lawyer at all. The answer is yes. If both spouses are agree to terminate the marriage, and if they are ready to negotiate and resolve some disputed issues on their own patiently, then they are allowed to represent themselves before the court. In legal terms, it is called “Pro Se Divorce.”
So, if you are going to arrange a divorce without attorney’s help you are in charge of all the paper work about divorce. The main thing you need to know is what forms and documents you should fill out and submit to the court. Even the simplest divorce case may seem complicated for the people without legal background due to the large amount of paper work, but don’t despair! Indiana courts provide 4 main types of divorce paperwork packets (two of them are for divorce without agreement, and the other two are designed for divorce with agreement, meaning an uncontested divorce) along with the detailed instructions in order to make the process more straightforward for the petitioner. Let’s observe the paperwork packages you may need if you arrange a DIY divorce.
- Divorce without children (with agreement)
To be eligible to use this packet of divorce forms you and your spouse should meet Indiana residency requirements, you should not have minor children (doesn’t matter, biological or adopted), and neither spouse should be pregnant. Along with it, you should have an official written agreement on how you marital property and debts should be divided.
The given packet includes such Indiana divorce forms as:
Appearance by Unrepresented Person in Civil Case. This form must be filled out by each party involved in the case; it contains the basic data about the person, contact information, and so on.
Verified Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is the main paper which starts a divorce case. It asks the court to terminate the marriage as well as outlines its history and contains the plaintiff’s requests.
Certificate of Service. This is a brief confirmation of the fact that the plaintiff has served the defendant with a copy of the petition.
Summons. The Summons informs the defendant about a divorce lawsuit. It also determines the type of service; therefore, it may be accompanied with Sheriff’s Return of Service of Summons, Clerk’s Certificate of Mailing or Return on Service of Summons by Mail.
Verified Waiver of Final Hearing. This form means that the spouses have reach an agreement concerning all the terms of their divorce, so the final hearing is unnecessary.
Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This seven-paged form contains all the agreed terms of a divorce case from allocating marital property (including joint debts, vehicles, marital home, etc.) up to change of names. Signed by the judge, this document officially ends the marriage.
- Divorce with children (with agreement)
In general, pro se divorce is also allowed in Indiana if the spouses have children, however, all the children-related issues, such as child custody, parenting time (visitation hours), and so on, must be resolved by the parents in advance. The spouses may resort the help of divorce mediator in order to reach an agreement on all these questions in efficient and amicable way.
For such type of divorce as “Divorce with children (with agreement)”, the spouses need to file nearly the same forms as for “Divorce without children (with agreement).” The significant difference is that foremost, divorcing parents must complete a Child Support Obligation Worksheet. This document is used to calculate an amount of child support along with each parent’s share. An amount of child support should be determined in accordance with Indiana Child Support Guidelines, each parent’s income, and the type of custody arrangement.
In addition, Decree of Dissolution of Marriage for the spouses who have minor children includes child-related issues as well. Along with property division, Decree of Dissolution outlines the terms of child custody, agreed visitation schedule, and so on.