Halcomb Singler’s attorneys are there to lead Westfield residents through the divorce process while advocating to make sure they receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled under Indiana law. Our office is located just down the street from Westfield near Interstate 31 and West Carmel Drive. If you and your spouse live in Westfield, the proper venue for your divorce filing is Hamilton County, Indiana, and we have an attorney at Halcomb Singler that has practiced extensively in Hamilton County court.
The divorce process can be as short as 60 days or as long as many years. Each divorce is different from the next. However, the process begins with an attorney filing the divorce petition. When the petition is filed it is then served on the non-filing spouse. The parties can then agree through negotiation on preliminary divorce matters including, but not limited to, who will stay in the house, who is responsible for which credit card payment, what property is going to be removed from the marital home by the person who will vacate the home, etc. In addition, child matters including a visitation schedule and whether child support will be paid must be determined preliminarily so that the children receive proper care. The preliminary order remain in place until the final hearing or until the parties agree differently through a mediated or negotiated divorce settlement agreement.
Next, the parties may engage in discovery. This process includes an exchange of information including billing statements, retirement account balances, bank account information and other documents necessary to determine the contents of the marital estate on the date of the filing of the divorce petition. It is important to have an accurate determination of the marital estate because there is a presumption that the marital estate will be split 50/50 between the parties. This is a presumption that can be rebutted in some cases. The Court may decide to deviate from the 50/50 split presumption in the event that one of the parties dissipated assets of divorce during the marriage, based on the contribution each spouse made in accumulating the marital property, or to the extent to which either of the spouses received funds prior to the marriage as a result of inheritance or gifts.
If the spouses have children, the Court will also need to determine child support, a visitation schedule, and custody (both legal and physical). In order to determine the amount of child support the Court uses the Indiana Child Support Calculator to make sure that there are proper funds to take care of the child or children. Child support calculations are based on a weekly payment. In addition, the Court will look at the best interests of the child in making its determination regarding physical and legal custody of the children. This is a broad category in which the judge may find many factors relevant.
The parties, through their respectable attorney, are often able to negotiate a final settlement without the aid of the Court. Through this process, the attorney representative of each party will negotiate a multiple page agreement in which the goal is to come to an agreement on all property division, child support, child custody, responsibility for debt payments, child visitation and all other matters that the parties would wish to bring before the divorce Court in the event that the case went to a final contested hearing. A settlement agreement is a very important document, as it is meant to be a comprehensive guide to the rights and responsibilities of the parties after the divorce. Sometimes an agreement can only be reached after the parties participate in mediation, a process in which a neutral third-party attorney mediator attempts to assist the parties in reaching a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement must also be approved by the Court and is typically filed with the Court along with a request for waiver of the final hearing.
In the event that the parties cannot agree on all matters, then the remaining contested matters will be heard by the Court. The final trial process can be as short as a few hours, or it may take the Court several days to hear all of the evidence. If the final hearing takes several days it is not typical for the days to be all in a row. In fact, the Court may hear the second day of evidence several months after the first day and, if a third day is required, that may be several more months down the road, etc. If a final hearing is required, your attorney will work with you to prepare you for the hearing. It will be important for you to understand what to expect, understand how to testify before the court, how to act, what to wear, and much more. At Halcomb Singler, you will work with a Westfield attorney that will be there to advise you in each step of the process.
If you are a Westfield resident and you have received a petition for dissolution from your spouse or want to proceed with filing a divorce petition contact Halcomb Singler at (317) 575-8222 for an appointment. Halcomb Singler offers an initial paid consultation for $200.00 that allows you to tell your story and ask questions of our Westfield Divorce Attorney about your divorce and the issues unique to your case. Call today for your appointment with an attorney at our Carmel office.
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