Ask a Divorce Lawyer: We’ve set up our own agreement while separated. How can we make it official without the courts intervening?

Question: I’m a father of two and still legally married but my wife left me over a year ago. We need to get this divorce taken care of but both have settled into our new lives. The kids are well taken care of between us both. We pretty much have joint custody, and things are going very well (equal visitation, both have places to live, bills are paid, children are financially taken care of, etc.).

I understand divorces aren’t easy and take awhile and we would like to just do this on our own without a lawyer and judge and state telling us how to raise our children. Is there a chance here in Indiana we can keep living like this with joint custody without the courts screwing everything up? What are the steps I need to take and papers I need to get to get this thing rolling?

Answer:

I must start out by stating that I am not licensed in Indiana, so I do not have specific knowledge of Indiana law, however, Cordell & Cordell P.C. does have attorneys in Indiana who are licensed to practice law in Indiana and would be happy to discuss the specifics of your case with you.

In order to begin the divorce process, one of you will need to Petition the Court for a dissolution of marriage. What you and your spouse are currently doing seems to be working for both of you, which is great. Most Courts would prefer the parties to work these types of things out on their own, so you are off to a start.

After the Petition has been filed, you and your spouse should be able to put what you are currently doing in writing called a marital settlement agreement and file that with the Court. Most Courts will accept those agreements as the will of the parties and incorporate them into a decree of dissolution. You should either contact an attorney licensed in Indiana or call your local county clerk to get specific instructions on filing the necessary documents.

 

Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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