All Indiana divorces begin with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the clerk of the court in the county of your residence. This document must include basic information about the marriage, grounds for divorce and how you want to resolve matters related to property, support and custody. For confidentiality purposes, the court also requires you to submit a form on light green paper that indicates the presence of sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, tax records, PINs, medical records and child abuse records.
In addition to the divorce petition, the court requires you to fill out an Appearance form, Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and Summons. The Appearance form simply indicates to the court that you are initiating the divorce. The Decree is an order granting the divorce, which contains the specific obligations of the parties following the divorce. It will be signed by the judge once property, support and custody matters are resolved. The Summons accompanies these documents, which must be served on your spouse by the sheriff or via certified mail.
If you and your spouse agree on the issues related to your divorce, you may file a form to waive the court hearing. This allows the court to enter a judgment of divorce and decide matters related to custody, support and property based on the terms of your settlement agreement. The settlement agreement must be signed by you and your spouse and contains a list of all of the marital assets; children of the marriage; and specifies each party's obligations once the divorce is finalized. If you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more issues, the matter will proceed to a hearing to be decided by a judge.
In Indiana, parents of minor children must also complete a child support worksheet. Child support is calculated based on a model that takes into account the income of both parents, whether physical custody is held solely by one parent or shared, and the number of children to support. For your convenience, the state offers an online child support calculator that may be accessed through the court's website. Once the support amount is computed, it can be included with a settlement agreement or submitted at the hearing if the matter is contested.