Do I Have to Go to Court to Get Divorced?

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Going to court can be an uncomfortable and intimidating experience for many people.  Not only have most people who are going through a divorce never been in a courtroom in their life, but being in a formal setting being questioned by another attorney and having a judge make a ruling that will impact divorce spouse’s children and finances can make for an uneasy situation.

Luckily, there are options available to help avoid divorcing spouses from going to court if they do want to.  Indiana law allows for spouses in a divorce to never have to go to court in divorce cases.  If both spouses agree, they can waive their right to a final hearing and ask a judge to approve their divorce settlement agreement without the need to ever step foot inside a courtroom.  Judges can even approve divorce settlement agreements without the need to talk with spouses about the terms of the agreements.

In fact, most judges prefer that spouses enter into their own agreements, as they understand that spouses know much more about their own lives than the judges do, and therefore by entering into a divorce settlement agreement, the people who are most familiar with their lives can make the decision that will impact their children and the division of their marital assets and debts.

To that end, some judges require parties to attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement.  Counties in Indiana have “Local Rules” which apply to how courts operate in that specific county.  Some counties in Indiana have what is considered “mandatory mediation” in divorce cases, meaning that before spouses in divorce case can even get to a final divorce hearing, they are required to attend mediation with a mediator in an attempt to resolve the terms of the divorce. 

Even if your county does not have “mandatory mediation”, many judges will order divorcing spouses to go to mediation before a final hearing can be held.   Some judges will even order divorcing parties to attend settlement conferences or even order the parties to attempt to negotiate a settlement before a final hearing is either set or can be held. 

Another advantage of reaching a divorce settlement agreement, or even going to mediation and reaching a divorce settlement agreement, can be much more cost effective than going to a final hearing.  If you or someone you know has questions regarding a divorce, consulting with a family law attorney regarding your options can be helpful. The experienced family law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC can help with your divorce case. Give us a call at (317)-526-4630 to help you navigate your case.