There is no easy way to dissolve a marriage, but the right attorney can make navigating the process easier. Choosing representation that aligns with your personality and has experience with cases similar to yours can reduce the stress of divorce. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best divorce lawyers in Indianapolis to lessen the burden during a difficult time in your life.
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Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning either spouse can file for divorce by claiming an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. Other grounds for divorce are incurable insanity existing for at least two years, impotence existing at the time of the marriage and a felony conviction by either spouse occurring after the time of the marriage.
If the divorce is uncontested, meaning both parties agree to its terms, the process is usually simple and inexpensive. In an uncontested divorce, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney to review the documents before finalizing them.
In contested divorces, where the parties dispute issues such as division of property, child custody or alimony, the most common ways of settling divorce terms in Indianapolis are:
Collaborative divorce: In a collaborative divorce, the divorcing spouses hire attorneys and enter an agreement to attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement. If either party does not find the final terms fair and rejects the settlement, the couple must hire new attorneys before proceeding to litigation.
Mediation: In mediation, the parties work with a neutral third party who presents compromises to disputed issues and attempts to help the divorcing spouses reach a settlement. Either party may reject the mediator’s proposed solutions.
Arbitration: Arbitration also uses a neutral third party to resolve the final terms of the divorce, but an arbitrator can make binding decisions in the divorce terms. Both parties present their cases to the arbitrator, who creates a settlement that decides any disputed issues.
Litigation: In litigation, attorneys for the divorcing spouses argue their cases in front of a judge, who makes binding decisions on disputed issues. Litigation is the most expensive option when finalizing divorce terms.
The cost of divorce lawyers in Indianapolis
The cost of divorce proceedings in Indianapolis can range from a few hundred dollars for an uncontested dissolution of a marriage to $15,000 to $30,000 for a contested divorce involving real estate or child custody. The level of contention raises the price of divorce: Couples who agree on the division of assets can mostly handle the divorce without using attorneys.
Indianapolis divorce lawyers charge an average of $220 an hour. For a contested divorce, lawyers generally charge between $75 to as much as $450 an hour, depending on the attorney’s experience. Some divorce lawyers negotiate a flat rate of a few thousand dollars or a flat rate for each contested issue.
Many attorneys in Indianapolis offer a free consultation, during which you can ask about prices and make sure the lawyer is a good fit for your case.
Choosing a divorce lawyer in Indianapolis
As is the case with most service providers, one of the best ways to find a good divorce lawyer in Indianapolis is by word of mouth. If you know someone who has been through a divorce in the past few years and was satisfied with their divorce lawyer, get that lawyer's name.
If you know any lawyers practicing other specialties, ask them for a referral. Lawyers in Indianapolis tend to know who has a good reputation in the field, and the real estate lawyer you know from the gym can likely point you to a good divorce lawyer.
Once you have a short list of lawyers to consider, research their websites to see if they seem like a good fit. You can also check online reviews from former clients. Schedule consultations with at least a few attorneys in Indianapolis to ask additional questions on topics such as:
Experience: Ask the attorney how long they’ve been practicing law and how many cases they’ve handled. Be sure to ask about cases similar to yours — an attorney with extensive mediation experience may not be useful if you’re sure your case will end up in court.
Expertise: A lawyer dedicated to divorce cases has more experience than a general practice attorney who practices all types of law. If your case involves minors, find a lawyer who is familiar with child custody and child support agreements.
Compatibility: You should be comfortable with your attorney and their personality. Hiring a divorce lawyer is expensive, and you should be happy with your choice and confident in their ability to resolve your case.
While it’s tempting to go with the least expensive option, this is often not the best choice. The consequences of a divorce settlement can be long-lasting, and it’s better to get favorable results the first time than to go back to court later. Choosing the right lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your divorce.
The Rahn Law Office
The Rahn Law Office specializes in criminal defense and family law and offers a relaxed yet professional atmosphere. The firm believes the best divorce resolutions are amicable but can represent clients in court when necessary. Indianapolis reviews laud the law office for its high level of communication.
Homan Legal handles both contested and uncontested divorces and works to find practical legal solutions for every case. The firm’s attorneys also have experience in cases involving child custody and child support. Customer reviews from Indianapolis praise the law firm’s staff for their professionalism and supportive attitude.
Wanzer Edwards, PC
Wanzer Edwards specializes in family law and offers a full range of services for settling marital dissolution. The firm has experience in mediation and other out-of-court settlement techniques to keep divorce amicable and inexpensive. Indianapolis clients praise the firm’s attorneys for their attention to detail and expertise in handling issues that arise from marital breakups.
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