Divorce is a very common civil law action that many Indiana residents will experience during their lives. Divorce obviously ends with the termination of the spouses' marriage, but how do the spouses get to that point? This blog post will provide readers with a quick summary of the steps that must be undertaken during the divorce process.
Many divorces begin in the following way: First, one of the spouses - usually with the help of a lawyer - will draw up a petition to file with the court. The spouse will then have the petition and a summons served on the other spouse. The summons will notify the other spouse that the court expects them to answer the petition.
The petition, by the way, provides the spouse's reasons for divorcing the other spouse. The other spouse is allowed to file an answer to the petition. The answer is the other spouse's response to the allegations made in the petition. Like the petition, the answer is usually drawn up with the help of a lawyer.
The parties will then exchange documents and information about each party's property and income. This information will be used in determining matters such as the property division as well as any alimony and child support payments that may be ordered.
At this point, a divorce looks a lot like many other forms of civil litigation. Like other forms of civil litigation, the parties may be able to come to a settlement where they agree to the terms of the divorce. In this case, the judge will review the settlement to make sure it conforms to legal requirements. If it does, the judge will issue a decree to make the settlement enforceable.
If the parties do not agree on one or more terms of divorce, then like any other civil action, the parties may proceed to trial. At trial, the judge will listen to each spouse's story and impose a divorce decree on the parties based on the facts and on Indiana family law.