How to Divorce in Indiana without Lawyers
- Requirements before getting started
- Basic steps of uncontested divorce in Indiana
- Finalizing your divorce without lawyers
If you’re getting divorced in Indiana, chances are you’d like to avoid a long, drawn-out divorce process. If your divorce is uncontested – you and your spouse agree or are working to agree on all divorce settlement terms, including what to do with shared property and how to handle custody and support payments – you may be able to finish your divorce without the assistance of a lawyer, which automatically shortens the process (and lowers the cost).
In fact, uncontested divorce is the fastest route to divorce in Indiana. Not all couples qualify for it, but many do. Let’s take a closer look.
Uncontested divorce requires no lawyers in Indiana
If your divorce case is not a complex one, it is quite possible to handle it by yourself or with professional help from an online divorce platform like Hello Divorce.
The following forms are for couples who want an uncontested divorce in Illinois. Remember, this means that you and your spouse agree on all aspects of your marital settlement agreement, from how your property (including your home) will be split to who has custody of any children and the details about child support and spousal support.
Check out the form that applies to your situation:
If you and your spouse almost agree on everything but are faced with a few sticking points, you may still be able to get an uncontested divorce without a lawyer. How? Hire and work with a divorce mediator – a trained impartial professional who can help you negotiate a fair compromise.
According to state law, at least one member of the couple must have lived in Indiana for the six months preceding the filing, and one member must have lived in the filing county for three months preceding the filing.
Do you meet the residency requirements for divorce in Indiana? Click here to find out.
Basic steps of uncontested divorce in Indiana
After you find the right forms (see the bullet points above), print and sign them. Your local court requires that you make two copies (three total).
Then, visit your local courthouse to file your petition. The Petitioner must file their papers in the county where at least one member of the couple has lived for at least three months. View the Directory of the Courts and Clerks in Indiana.
Or, if you choose, you can electronically file your document. Be sure to read this statewide E-filing User Guide first.
Step 1: Filing and serving
Filing the Petition
Hand-deliver or e-file your divorce petition to the appropriate channel. If you’re unsure where to go or how to e-file, review the information above.
Be prepared to pay a filing fee when you file. In Indiana, the filing fee varies by county but is generally under $200. If the fee poses a hardship for you, check out this website to see if you can get the fee waived.
Serving your spouse
Unless your spouse waives formal legal service, the Petition must be formally and legally served on them, even if they already know about the divorce. You can do this one of several ways:
- Hire a professional process server to deliver the papers
- Hire a sheriff’s deputy
- Send the papers via certified mail
If you don’t know where your spouse is, the court may grant you permission to notify them via a newspaper publication instead.
How does a spouse waive service? They must agree to do so in writing via an official waiver form. The form must be signed in front of a notary and subsequently filed with the court. Your spouse must provide you with a copy of the Appearance and Waiver forms.
Step 2: Negotiation with spouse
Now that your divorce process has formally started, it’s time to negotiate the terms of your marital settlement agreement with your spouse, if you haven’t done so already.
As mentioned, the primary issues you must agree upon to qualify for an uncontested divorce are property division, child custody, and whether spousal maintenance (alimony) is to be paid.
Hello Divorce offers a free downloadable checklist, What to Include in Your Marital Settlement Agreement, to help you stay on track during your negotiation. We also provide flat-rate hourly sessions with a certified divorce mediator to those who request it. A divorce mediator can help you resolve conflicts about your settlement agreement by facilitating peaceful negotiation.
We also recommend these resources:
Draft and submit your proposed marital settlement agreement
Sixty days after you file your Petition, you can file your next set of Indiana divorce forms, also found in the packet linked to above. These include:
- Waiver of Final Hearing (assuming you both agree to waive this hearing)
- Settlement Agreement and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
In addition, you must file financial disclosures.
Depending on your situation, you may also need to file the following:
- Child Support Obligation worksheet (if you have children) and proof of income (pay stubs, tax returns)
- Parenting Time worksheet and parenting plan
Step 3: Finalizing the uncontested divorce
Mandatory waiting period
All divorces in Indiana are subject to a 60-day waiting period, also sometimes called a “cooling off period.” During this time, the court cannot finalize your divorce even if you and your spouse agree on everything.
If you and your spouse agree to skip the court hearing, you may be able to do so by signing a Verified Waiver of Final Hearing (found in the divorce packet at the link above). The judge will review your proposed marital settlement agreement and determine whether they approve of it. If they do, they may sign off on it without you having to set foot in a courtroom.
Note: In some cases, you may still have to attend a hearing. For example, if one of you requests temporary orders, you must attend a provisional hearing.
Are you covering everything in your Divorce Agreement?
See what most people include in their Agreements with our free download.
FAQ about divorce in Indiana
Do I have to live in Indiana before filing for divorce?
Only one of you must be a resident of Indiana for the six months preceding the divorce filing. Further, one of you must have lived in the filing county for the three months preceding the filing.
How much does it cost to get divorced in Indiana?
A filing fee is charged when you submit your Petition for the dissolution of your marriage. The cost varies by county but is generally less than $200.
If you hire a divorce lawyer to represent you in court, you can expect to pay a lot more than that. Many lawyers charge upfront retainer fees of several thousand dollars. Hourly rates for lawyers range from $150 to $500, and lawyers charge for even small increments of time, including the minutes they might spend reading your email or talking to you on the phone.
If you opt for Hello Divorce’s flat-rate divorce plans, however, the cost is much lower. In Indiana, we now offer our most popular online divorce plan – the Pro Plan – for a flat rate of $1,500. You answer a series of questions, and we fill out and file your divorce forms for you. You can read more about the Pro plan here.
Do I have to take a parenting class?
In some cases, yes, the state of Indiana requires parents to take a class. Another requirement the state may impose is pre-divorce counseling. While some of our clients find these governmental programs helpful, others find them a bit of a bother. If you’re in the second camp, our best advice is to view it as just another hoop to jump through to get what you really want: a finalized divorce and the chance to begin your next exciting chapter.