Whether a wedding is a small ceremony or a large and elaborate event, the meaning of a marriage remains the same – two people are committed to one another. Many spouses foresee growing old together and dream of having children. Unfortunately, the plans don’t always work out as intended.
It can be heartbreaking to come to the reality that a marriage isn’t going to last. Regardless of the reason for ending a partnership, careful thought should be given to issues in a divorce. The choices made now can affect your future for years to come.
Two important areas need to be resolved in a divorce – child custody and financial support for the children. As parents, it’s a wise decision to work out issues concerning children together. In doing so, the court will have less of a reason to get involved in making the final ruling.
In Indiana, four types of custody are possible in divorces cases – sole physical custody, joint physical custody, sole legal custody and joint legal custody. In legal custody, one or both spouses have the control to make decisions on educational, religious and medical choices concerning the children. Physical custody means one or both spouses have overnight stays with the children.
Child support is calculated through a formula made available in the Indiana child support guidelines. The amount of support needs to be approved by the court, and a judge has the power to alter the amount, if necessary, in the case. Child support is determined through examination of many factors, such as the gross income of each parent and the number of children in the household.
A judge may take into consideration other factors, including taxes, union dues and the debt of each spouse, when determining child support payments.
In Indiana, marital property is defined as nearly all items, regardless of whether the item is a gift or inheritance. This also includes property that has only one person on the title and items purchased before the marriage.
If property has been determined to be separate property, this means only one spouse is the owner. In cases such as this, a prenuptial agreement may protect the property from being allocated to the other spouse. Overall, however, any and all property can be ordered to be divided between both spouses in the state of Indiana outside a prenuptial agreement.
Division Of Property
Property and debts are divided equitably in Indiana. The court will distribute property largely based upon the economic circumstances of each spouse and the contribution made by each person to acquire the asset. Other factors the court will consider include:
- Whether the property was acquired before or during the marriage
- Whether the property was a gift
- The conduct of the spouses in the marriage
- The earning ability of each spouse
Indiana has two types of divorce – fault and no-fault. With a fault divorce it is necessary to show one of the grounds, such as adultery, was committed. In a no-fault divorce, a couple need only cite there was an “irretrievable breakdown” of the union and the relationship is beyond repair. As an alternative to divorce, it is also possible to file for legal separation or an annulment.
When a couple gets legally separated, assets are divided, child custody is determined, and other issues are resolved. A legal separation can be thought of as a pre-run to divorce in some regards. Spouses can remain on one another’s insurance policy and the marriage is not terminated. Other reasons to legally separate versus filing for divorce may relate to religion.
If a spouse plans to marry another person, however, further legal steps are required to dissolve the existing marriage.
The court defines a marriage that has been annulled as “voidable” and as though the marriage never happened. Certain grounds for an annulment need to exist. The conditions are:
- A spouse lacked the mental capacity to marry
- A spouse committed fraud and was married under false pretenses
- A spouse was under the legal age limit of 18
- A spouse was already legally married
- Spouses were closely related to one another
In alternative dispute resolution (ADR) you and your spouse will meet with a neutral third party to resolve the issues in a divorce. The goal is to come up with an agreement for all contested areas and avoid a trial proceeding. ADR is a cost-effective option that saves time.
The agreements can be either legally binding or nonbinding. In some forms of ADR, the outcome is settled by a judge while in other types, spouses remain in control over the end result.
A divorce can bring a mass of hurt and uncertainty. When emotions are tied to a situation, focusing on the proper legal steps can be challenging. Whether you have questions on the definition of marital property or you are concerned over child support matters, a lawyer can help.
An attorney can review the necessary steps in your case and help you make choices that are in your best interests. Within the process of divorce, there are many forms to sign and a lawyer can help you avoid potential mistakes before you sign legally binding agreements. Legal guidance can offer a wide range of possible resolutions that may be right for you.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
As in any service, it’s important to hire the most skilled person for the job. When applied to choosing an attorney, select one with success in helping families in Indianapolis. The divorce lawyer you work with can make a difference in the outcome of your case. To begin the divorce process or learn more about the legal steps fill out the intake form and we’ll put you in contact with an experienced Indianapolis divorce attorney.