While the hardest part of ending a marriage may be deciding and articulating an intent to file for divorce, the complicated decisions do not end at this point. Many other issues must be resolved before a divorce decree may be issued. One of the first things a spouse must determine is the type of divorce he/she wants to pursue. The ultimate decision will largely rest on the dynamics of the relationship and the attitude of the other spouse, but it is generally better to decide on a course of action individually before presenting the other spouse with an option if a cooperative approach is desired. Of course, filing for divorce with the family court is the standard method of ending a marriage, but even within this process there are two paths to divorce.
Outside of courts, there is a non-adversarial option that some spouses greatly benefit from using. Working with an experienced divorce attorney is crucial to making an appropriate decision, and legal advice about the pros and cons of each option should be discussed before anything is formally initiated. To help spouses contemplating divorce gain an initial understanding of how their case could unfold, a discussion of three common options for pursuing divorce in Indiana will follow below.
This is the simplest and most cost-effective method of obtaining a divorce. While the spouses do file a traditional divorce petition with the family court, they can obtain a much quicker resolution because they agree on all aspects of the dissolution. Practically speaking, this means the petition includes a property settlement agreement and a plan to divide parenting responsibilities and pay child support. A court will need to review the child-related matters, and all the negotiation is completed between the spouses, but once the child custody issues are approved, no real work is left to be done. A trial is not necessary, meaning minimal attorney’s fees, and the entire process generally takes one to two months to complete. However, note that all divorce cases require certain documents to be submitted, and in a certain order, so working with a divorce attorney is key to ensuring the process goes smoothly.
Conversely, if the couple can not resolve their issues or have sensitive/complex matters to address, asking a court to make these decisions may become necessary. A contested divorce is the traditional procedure people envision for this situation, and involves submitting documents and evidence to the judge, as well as attending hearings and/or a trial to sort out what the ultimate result will be. Again, the judge makes the final decision on outstanding issues, which can include every aspect of a divorce, or just individual matters. While negotiating private settlements is encouraged in most divorces, some present issues that make that kind of approach unadvisable, including marriages that have safety concerns, complex asset/liability situations, or child welfare questions. These cases will come with higher costs and lengthy timelines, but not all issues can or should be settled between divorcing spouses.
Finally, a relatively new approach to divorce is the collaborative process. This is an alternative to litigation, and involves the couple working with specially-trained attorneys and professional advisors to directly resolve issues in a non-adversarial atmosphere. The focus of this process is to facilitate communication and creative solutions to unresolved issues in hopes of preserving or improving the relationship. This approach is particularly effective for parents who plan to co-parent after divorce, or those desiring a private and confidential option. This option is typically faster than traditional divorce, but it does involve higher costs than uncontested cases that should be taken into consideration.
Get Advice From an Indiana Divorce Attorney
The road to finalizing divorce is somewhat different for each couple, and if you are considering taking this step, first talk with a divorce attorney about the ramifications. Christopher L. Arrington, P.C. understand the seriousness of this decision, and will guide you through the process to obtain the best possible outcome. Contact the Danville law firm today to schedule an appointment.