Modern divorce in the USA is a process which is designed to give the spouses themselves more freedom and authority. Due to the numerous reasons, all that long-drawn divorce proceedings actually are not in the courts’ interests, – as it may be assumed by the people who face the notorious bureaucracy and resent the complexity of the legal procedures. The fact is that straightforward, quick divorces and other court proceedings with minimum papers are good for everyone. The courts would not be overwhelmed, and their backlog of considering the cases would not increase. Moreover, tones of papers can literally destroy the courts’ buildings, because the archive rooms’ floors are sagged due to the huge weight. It may seem ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. Waste minimization is not just a fleeting trend but the real need to implement the digital transformation of legal processes. Actually, the US laws and the courts’ filing rules become, slowly but surely, less complicated and time-consuming. For an average citizen, this means that the regular legal issues (divorce, for instance) may be solved in an easier way and without huge expenses.
Taking all these facts into account, let’s look at the Indiana divorce process in greater detail. Compared to some decades ago period, what are the benefits the divorcing spouses may enjoy now?
The main advantage the Information Age gave us concerning the divorce is the possibility to arrange a divorce without the participation of an attorney.
Divorce without an attorney is also called pro se divorce, or DIY divorce. This means that the person represents their interests before the court on their own and takes responsibility for the possible mistakes. Representing yourself in the court is a constitutional right provided by most U.S. states. In Indiana, the person is almost always permitted to represent themselves in a civil case; however, Indiana Judicial Branch warns against such a decision, emphasizing that it may be right not for everyone.
Uncontested divorce as an essential condition
As for divorce proceeding, you may understand you are a good candidate for a divorce without a lawyer in Indiana, by checking the following conditions:
- Neither spouse has retirement payments they are going to divide. The pension issue is somewhat complicated, and it will likely require legal assistance.
- The parties don’t have huge assets, property, real estate, land. The division of substantial amounts of property is usually a complicated process as well.
- The spouses don’t have minor children, or at least they can agree about custody of the child and other related issues out-of-court.
- In general, the spouses agree on uncontested divorce. This type of divorce does not imply court battles, and the parties should decide all the disputed issues of their case in advance. If the spouses are willing to cooperate, divorce without a lawyer may be a good idea; if they are ready to contest the divorce lawsuit, none of them can be sure that the other does not use the lawyer’s help.
- Both spouses must realize the responsibility of self-representation, and be able to evaluate the situation soberly. The parties should be prepared; they must meet deadlines and court rules as if they were the lawyers. Self-represented litigants may be penalized for being late or unprepared the same as attorneys.
If you meet these conditions, you may try to represent yourself in dissolution. Even though representing yourself has been allowed for a long time, the rate of pro se litigants in Indiana has increased significantly during the last decade. The role of online services is essential in this process.
For example, nowadays, the Indiana Judicial Branch provides information on how to divorce without an attorney. Instructions and most of the needed divorce forms are also available on the website of Indiana court system. Besides, there is a special online-system which allows customers to ask attorneys some legal questions confidentially at no cost. Of course, availability of the necessary information motivates people to arrange their divorces independently, as the process seems much easier when you can make a plan of action without even visiting the court or clerk’s office.
Online divorce – completing and filing
One more thing which makes a divorce without a lawyer more comfortable is what we call online divorce. Various online divorce companies assume the function of preparation and completing of divorce forms and papers. This option is a good bargain for those people who don’t want to resort to attorneys assistance but still feel unsure of how to fill out all the paperwork correctly.
Using an online divorce service, a person may not worry about what documents are necessary for their particular dissolution case, which forms are relevant in specific Indiana county (yes, the forms may vary depending on the county, even within one state), as well as how to fill them out correctly. In general, a customer should log in to the site and answer a short questionnaire. Further, the system automatically customizes a set of documents under the circumstances of the client. You can get ready-made forms within a few days. Similar services for an uncontested divorce are offered by lawyers too, but their cost is much higher. The price for an online divorce mainly ranges from $120 to $300.
Besides online preparation of the divorce paperwork, online filing is also recognized in the state of Indiana. Electronic filing is a method to enter a lawsuit without visiting the court. The plaintiff should register with one of e-filing service providers and point out the type of the case (for divorce: civil case – domestic relations with/without children) along with other details of their dissolution case including which court and county they want to file with.
Such a method may seem a God sent to those people who prefer to avoid queues, paperwork, and contacts with the office staff. E-filing, as well as online preparation of the forms, may save your time, as you can fill out and file the papers with the court any time of the day or night. Despite the cost of each of these services, which is charged separately from the mandatory court filing fee (about $130-160 in Indiana), online divorce options are gaining popularity in the Hoosier State. While an average attorney fee is about $200 per hour, DIY divorce, even taking into account using online services, remains a more beneficial way to arrange a divorce.
Divorce mediation: when a bit of assistance is needed
Another helpful tool for the spouses want to divorce without an attorney is mediation. Mediators are specialists who help the spouses to make a mutually beneficial settlement agreement or parenting plan. They are not allowed to give legal advice or participate in proceeding from any spouse’s behalf, mediators just guide the couple through the negotiation and help them to prepare for the final hearing (if any). Mediation can be very useful if the spouses are ready to cooperate and both want their divorce to be uncontested but it’s still difficult to compromise for them. In general, dissolution without a lawyer in Indiana is not only legal and possible but also quite easy if your divorce case is not too complicated and you and your partner are ready to cooperate for the sake of the quick and affordable divorce. Numerous online platforms provide the necessary information along with the supporting services. Therefore, you can arrange a divorce process as independently as possible and resort to some assistance just in particular issues and if you yourself consider it necessary.