In Indiana, there is a 60 day cooling off period for divorce. This sometimes creates the assumption of litigants who want a divorce that it will be completed in that time frame. In almost all cases, that will not occur. This blog explores the four major components that have to occur before obtaining a divorce so you better understand the process.
Many times, the parties think about a divorce but do not file or reconcile or go into counseling after filing a divorce. This is the first component--one party being firmly vested in obtaining a divorce. Filing does start the time running to the 60 day cooling off period, but not a lot happens legally speaking in many cases until the parties work through the emotion and file or determine to continue and let counsel know such.
The second component is information gathering, which is called discovery. With a marriage of any duration, the parties have intermingled and intermixed everything in life from insurance to friends and investments. Many of these have to be legally unwound, if possible, to separate the parties going forward. This requires all assets and liabilities to be determined. Then for those that cannot be separated, such as a mortgage, appropriate contractual plans for how the other spouse is to be removed from this debt obligation. The court presumes an equal division.
Within this second component, for parties who have children, may be a range of “discovery.” This may include a custody evaluation to aid the court in determining custody and parenting time with each party as this has to change when the parties no longer live together. Ultimately, the court focuses on the children’s best interests.
Third, the court will almost always order the parties to go to mediation. This is where a neutral third party helps the parties try to reach an agreement on all issues, or some of the issues, such as division of the debt/assets or custody issue, although the Court is not bound to accept any custody agreement it does not believe is in the children’s best interests. If the case resolved, this ends the matter.
When a case does not revolve, the matter then proceeds to a trial where a range of people from teachers and therapists to financial professionals may testify to aid the court in determining how to divide the marital estate and whether to follow the presumption or deviate as well as make child custody orders in the children’s best interests.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is general information we hope you find useful to be engaged legal consumers. It is not intended as legal advice, nor a solicitation for services. It is generally advertising material in nature. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle domestic cases of all types throughout the state of Indiana as well as on appeal.