The cost for filing a petition for divorce in Indiana varies from county to county, but generally should not exceed $200. In the least expensive kinds of cases, couples will be able to come to an agreement on the their separation terms before filing for a divorce. Even though no joint petition for divorce is available in Indiana, it is possible to speed up the legal process by preparing a joint written agreement covering such potential areas of dispute as:
• Payment of shared debts
• Child custody arrangements
• Health insurance arrangements
• Visitation rights
• Alimony payments
• Child support payments
If these issues are resolved before divorce papers are filed, both spouses can rest assured neither will slow down the process. After the person being served the divorce papers waives their right to contest the charges, the jointly agreed-upon plan for the separation can be submitted to the court.
Sometimes, both parties may not be able to come to an agreement that is mutually acceptable. In this case, there are two possibilities for resolving the issue. Ideally, with the help of count-appointed mediators, informal pretrial meetings will enable both parties to draft an acceptable agreement to present to the court at their hearing date. Alternately, the couple may decide to share the expense of hiring a lawyer experienced in mediation who can help them create a legally binding agreement.
Some people may not be able to afford to file for divorce. It is possible to file for a waiver dismissing the fee on the ground that you are impoverished and it is not possible for you to make the payment.
If no agreement can be reached, one or both parties may decide they could benefit from private legal advice or courtroom representation. At this stage in the proceedings, a lawyer will generally be preparing to go to court rather than advising you on technicalities, and may charge an expensive hourly fee for their services. If you decide you are in need of an attorney’s advice, be sure to receive an estimate at the outset of any probably expenses you will be liable for.
In court, a judge may issue a ruling on child support payments taking into consideration:
• The standard of living the children were accustomed to during the marriage
• The physical, emotional and medical needs of the children
• The financial resources and obligations of both spouses
There are many factors a judge will consider when deciding whether or not to award any form of temporary or indefinite alimony payments:
• Whether a spouse is incapable of working for a set period, either mentally or physically
• Both parties’ earning capacity
• The education levels of both spouses
• The time or expense required for a set period of time by a spouse to acquire the education or training necessary to become self-sustaining
• Custodial arrangements, including whether it is desirable for the parent with main custody to not have to work in the child’s best interests