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When confronted with the potential of divorce and the need for legal advice, people often do not know what to expect during their initial consultation with a family law attorney. In fact, for many people in a divorce situation, it will be their first contact with an attorney or the judicial system. The issues of divorce may seem to lack potential solutions, but, through their professional skill and experience, family law attorneys can understand what a client is going through and offer solutions to manage the problems.

In Indiana, divorce is also known as the dissolution of marriage. Individuals seeking a divorce can do so without establishing fault. Even if one spouse opposes it, the other spouse may still obtain the divorce. The divorce process divides assets and debts and determines child custody, parenting time and support arrangements. A party must be a resident of Indiana for six months prior to filing a petition for dissolution of marriage and a resident of the county where the petition is to be filed for 90 days before the filing.

Discovery, or the exchange of information between parties and counsel, can be an important tool for preparing for a final divorce. Provisional issues that may be addressed while the divorce is pending include temporary custody, parenting time, and child support; temporary maintenance; possession of the marital residence; and responsibility for expenses.

After 60 days from the date of filing the petition for dissolution of marriage, spouses are eligible to be legally divorced. Following negotiated settlement or trial, a judge will issue a final order and decree for dissolution of marriage, addressing all outstanding issues.

Not all divorces are contested and lengthy battles. Most divorce matters do not go to trial. Collaborative law and mediation services may better serve the needs of a case and are often more efficient and amicable. These options have the benefit of crafting an agreement that addresses unique individual family circumstances under the assistance of trained attorney professionals.

An effective divorce attorney should advise a client as both an advocate and as a counselor. As an advocate, a divorce attorney concentrates on zealously representing a client’s interests, whether negotiating a settlement or presenting the case in the courtroom. As a counselor, an attorney can advise as to what should be reasonably anticipated based on professional experience. In this way, a client can know available options while understanding what realistic potential outcomes can be expected. Management of divorce with knowledge about the legal, financial and personal aspects assists with moving forward into life beyond divorce.