Many couples sooner or later come to the decision to dissolve the marriage. Divorces have long become something familiar and not surprising at all. But it is possible to dissolve the marriage in different ways, someone quietly and peacefully files papers, and someone arranges a grandiose scandal. Marriage dissolution does not have to be difficult or sound like a terrible TV drama. That is why many couples are trying to get an uncontested divorce and not bring the case to court proceedings.
“Pro Se” is a Latin expression that means “on one’s own behalf”, and when they say “pro se divorce” they are talking that a divorce without a lawyer, in which the spouses do everything on their own: from filling out documents to protecting their interests before the court. Pro Se divorce is possible in the case if both spouses want to dissolve the marriage and found a compromise regarding all their controversial issues. If at least one aspect of the separation remains unresolved, then a pro se divorce is impossible, since the spouses will be obliged to seek the help of lawyers. In other words, a pro se divorce is an uncontested marriage dissolution, in which the spouses agree with each other on all matters, such as the separation of marital property and custody of common minor children, the amount and duration of alimony, grounds for divorce and any other issues that may arise in the process of termination.
An uncontested divorce does not mean that the spouses have no disagreements at all, it means that the couple resolved all their differences outside the court and came to the judge with a completed decision. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses must find a compromise, but this does not mean that they are both happy with the decisions made. Therefore, pro se divorce must begin when all disputes are resolved and agreement is reached.
There are various statutory reasons for divorce in Indiana. However, only no-fault grounds are used in uncontested divorces. The no-fault reasons are “irreconcilable differences” or “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage, in which none of the spouses is to blame for the fact that the marriage is broken. These no-fault grounds also do not require proof of guilt of the spouse, in contrast to the fault grounds.
In the case of pro se divorce, all necessary papers must be collected and filled out by the spouses themselves without the help of lawyers. Forms for divorce vary depending on the county and circumstances of the marriage, but the main ones that need to be filled out and filed with the court are Petition for Dissolution, Notice of the Verified Financial Disclosure Statement, Summons. Spouses must also submit to the Court the Settlement Agreement, in which they describe ways to resolve all their controversial issues, including the child’s parenting strategy and the Parenting Plan if the couple has common minor children. All necessary forms are available at the court clerk’s office. In addition, blank forms can be found on the Internet, for example, on the Indiana Judicial Branch website, also there can be found all the necessary information regarding the procedure of divorce. When filing documents with the court, it’s needed to pay a court fee, which varies from county to county but not exceeds $150.
But before applying to the court, spouses must comply with the requirements of the state. Thus, either spouse must be Indiana’s residence for at least 6 months before filing a lawsuit and residing for 3 months in the county where the divorce will take place.
After spouses file documents with the court, the clerk will assign them a registration number. The consideration of the case will begin no earlier than 60 days from the filing date. In many cases, divorce is granted even without the presence of the spouses in the courtroom. But if the judge has any questions, then the husband and wife will be summoned to court hearings.
Divorce is a natural process, because no one is obliged to live in an unhappy marriage. Indiana legislation is diverse and allows spouses to dissolve a marriage in various convenient ways, one of which is a pro se divorce, which also makes it possible to save a large amount of money on the services of the lawyers.