Getting divorced is a process, and one of the first steps in the process is learning what you can expect the rest of the way. If you are preparing for a divorce, here are five key facts you need to know:
In Indiana, you have the option to file for divorce on either fault-based or no-fault grounds, though the fault-based grounds are very limited. While there are certain benefits to filing on the basis of fault (if you have the grounds available), filing for a no-fault divorce has its own benefits as well. Most spouses file for divorce on a no-fault basis; however, before you decide, you should discuss your options with your attorney.
As part of your divorce, you and your spouse will need to divide your marital assets. In Indiana, this is done through the process known as “equitable distribution.” While there is an initial presumption that a couple’s marital assets should be split 50/50, this presumption can be (and often is) overcome based upon the unique factors involved in the couple’s divorce.
Early in the divorce process, you and your spouse will be required to complete and exchange Financial Declaration Forms disclosing all of your respective assets, debts and sources of income. This is intended to ensure that you each have a clear picture of your marital estate (the assets that are subject to equitable distribution) and the information you need for purposes of calculating child support and alimony. Submitting an inaccurate Financial Declaration Form can have severe consequences, and completing the form is something that all spouses need to take very seriously.
In custody and parenting time matters (in Indiana, the concept commonly known as “visitation” is referred to as “parenting time”), all decisions must be made in the best interests of the children involved. Indiana law encourages divorcing parents to develop custody and parenting time arrangements that meet their needs while serving the best interests of their children. If they cannot agree, they will need to establish a parenting schedule in accordance with the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.
The Indiana Child Support Guidelines establish minimum requirements with respect to non-custodial parents’ financial obligations toward their children after their divorce. Divorcing parents must complete a Child Support Obligation Worksheet which takes into consideration their respective incomes, child-related expenses and other factors, and then this information is used to calculate the minimum child support obligation.
Calculating child support is very different from the other financial and property aspects of a typical divorce—spousal support and equitable distribution. While child support calculations are subject to rigid guidelines, divorcing spouses have significantly more flexibility with respect to crafting alimony payments and dividing their marital property.
If you are contemplating a divorce and would like more information about what you can expect during the process, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. To speak with attorney Joshua R. Hains in confidence, please call (317) 688-1305 or request an appointment online today.