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Cost of Divorce in Indiana

How much does a divorce cost in Indiana? Read on for everything to know about filing fees, court costs and what impacts the cost of divorce in Indiana.

evident Editorial Team
April 2, 2024
Indianapolis skyline

Going through a divorce in Indiana can be a stressful and complicated process. Among the various sources of stress, an additional uncertainty is how much the process will cost. People going through a divorce in Indiana often wonder, "How much does a divorce cost in Indiana?"

While it's difficult to provide a single estimate given that each divorce is different, several common factors determine divorce costs in Indiana. Understanding what these factors are can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with the divorce process.

This article will explore the crucial factors that affect the cost of divorce in Indiana. We'll also share the average cost of divorce in Indiana according to studies. Additionally, we’ll highlight resources for lower-cost divorce options that can be helpful for people who have financial constraints and cannot afford an Indiana divorce attorney.

Key Takeaways

The Average Cost of Divorce in Indiana

The average cost of a divorce in Indiana, according to USA Today, is $11,400 for cases without children. (Divorces with children, meanwhile, tend to be even more expensive).  

But remember, every divorce is unique, and the actual cost of a given divorce in Indiana can vary significantly depending on the circumstances. 

When considering what the financial burden of your divorce might be, it is critical to understand the factors that influence the overall cost of divorce and consider whether they apply to your situation. 

What affects the cost of divorce in Indiana?

So, how much is a divorce in Indiana? A few key factors influence how expensive an Indiana divorce will be.

First, there are concrete factors such as:

  • Filing fees and court costs
  • Attorneys’ fees

These are knowable inputs that can be understood from the outset. (For instance, you can look up the filing fees on your local courthouse’s website). 

Additionally, though, there are certain thematic factors that can have an even bigger impact on how expensive your divorce might get, such as: 

  • How complicated your divorce is
  • How contentious your divorce is

We’ll address these thematic factors in greater detail below, but first, let’s take a look at the concrete inputs. 

Indiana Divorce Filing Fees and Court Costs

How much is it to file for divorce in Indiana? Filing fees for divorce in Indiana are typically $177 plus a $28 service fee to have the Sheriff’s office serve the divorce papers on the other party. 

Fees sometimes vary by county, though, so be sure to check the court website for where you intend to file. For instance, here are divorce filing fees for a few Indiana counties:

Keep in mind that there may be additional court fees if you have to file further paperwork beyond the initial divorce petition. Be sure to consult the local courthouse website for those fees as well. 

Fee waivers in Indiana

If paying the filing fee would be a financial hardship, a fee waiver may be available.

To get a fee waiver, you will need to file a Verified Motion for Fee Waiver and provide information about your income. 

How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Indiana?

Divorce attorneys’ fees are often one of the biggest factors dictating the overall cost of divorce in Indiana. 

To understand how much it costs to hire an Indiana divorce attorney, it's helpful to first familiarize yourself with their fee structures.

Divorce Attorney Fee Structures

Divorce lawyers in Indiana commonly use two main fee structures: hourly rates or flat fees. 

With hourly rates, divorce lawyers bill their clients based on the time they spend working on a case. Lawyers who charge hourly rates may also request a retainer fee upfront, which is essentially a downpayment on future fees. 

Meanwhile, some Indiana divorce lawyers may charge a flat fee. With a flat fee structure, the lawyer will quote a predetermined amount for their assistance with the divorce case. 

Pros and cons of billing methods

The details of your divorce could affect which fee structure makes sense in your circumstances. For example, flat fees often make more sense for uncontested divorces where the attorney can more accurately predict how much time they will spend on the case, while hourly rates make more sense for contested divorces where the workload may be harder to predict.

Average Hourly Rates For Indiana Divorce Lawyers

The average hourly rate for Family Law attorneys in Indiana is approximately $265 per hour. (Divorce is a subsection of the legal practice area of Family Law). 

But as with the data on average costs above, this is just an average, and actual hourly rates can vary based on several factors such as the lawyer's experience, where they’re based, etc.). For instance, rates may be higher for divorce lawyers in Indianapolis than for those in other parts of the state.

Additionally, keep in mind that the amount of time the lawyer will spend working on your case is critical and can have an even greater impact on the total cost of divorce in Indiana than the hourly rate. (I.e. compare $300 x 15 hours for $4,500 in attorney fees vs. $250 x 30 hours for $7,500).  

It’s for this reason that the thematic factors referenced above have such a big impact on the overall cost of divorce in Indiana, so let’s turn to those now. 

Complicated divorces are more expensive

How complicated a divorce is can significantly affect its overall cost. Generally, the more complex the divorce, the more expensive it can be. 

A crucial distinction in this regard is whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce in Indiana

An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree on all issues related to the divorce, such as alimony, child custody, child support, and the division of property. 

Uncontested divorces are typically simpler, faster, and, therefore, less expensive than contested divorces. The cost of an uncontested divorce is often limited to court costs and filing fees, assuming the parties can collaborate and reach an agreement.

Contested divorces, on the other hand, are all other divorces in which the parties disagree on at least one divorce-related issue. There is a broad range of outcomes among contested divorces, though. (For instance, is there a slight disagreement about how to share joint custody, or is the divorcing couple in a full-blown custody battle?).

What makes an Indiana divorce more complicated?

maze, labyrinth

Issues involving minor children, substantial marital assets, complicated marital assets, and disputes over alimony (called spousal maintenance in Indiana) increase the complexity of the divorce process. 

Divorces involving minor children introduce issues related to child custody and child support, which can make things more complicated.

Having substantial or complex marital assets, such as ownership interests in companies, can also introduce complexity as additional considerations like appraisals and valuation enter the picture.

Meanwhile, divorces involving spousal maintenance (called alimony or spousal support in other states) require an additional item of calculation (or negotiation) compared to divorces where neither party seeks financial support.

These factors can increase the complexity of a divorce and, therefore, can increase the overall costs involved. These issues can also be additional sources of disagreement, which takes us to the next thematic factor affecting Indiana divorce costs.

How Contentious Your Indiana Divorce Is

While uncontested divorces usually offer a more cost-effective and streamlined process, the reality is that not all couples can arrive at such amicable agreements. That said, even when the prospect of an uncontested divorce remains elusive, it's helpful to embrace a collaborative mindset and strive for cooperation with your former spouse.

One highly effective approach for mitigating the financial strain of a contentious divorce is engaging in divorce mediation or other collaborative divorce processes. Through mediation, you and your ex-spouse can collaboratively work alongside a neutral third-party mediator who facilitates negotiations and helps find common ground on various issues. 

While working amicably with your ex-spouse is not always possible, sincere efforts to identify shared priorities and foster cooperation can have many benefits, including substantial time and cost savings. 

If you are open to taking a more collaborative approach, it’s helpful to seek the guidance of a seasoned divorce attorney well-versed in collaborative methods. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.

Lower-Cost Options for Divorce in Indiana

money, coins, stack

If you have concerns about the cost of divorce in Indiana, there are resources available to help reduce legal expenses. 

Limited-scope representation, in which a divorce attorney can assist you with specific aspects of your case, is one option. For example, you could hire a divorce lawyer to review your marital settlement agreement or accompany you to divorce mediation without having them represent you for the full scope of your divorce case. 

Another valuable resource is Legal Aid organizations which offer free or low-cost legal services based on income level. For instance, Indiana Legal Services helps eligible individuals throughout the state of Indiana. 

And remember that fee waivers may be available if you cannot afford the Indiana divorce filing fees. 

By leveraging these resources, you can find affordable avenues for legal assistance during your divorce process in Indiana.

FAQs About the Cost of Divorce in Indiana

How long does it take to get divorced in Indiana?

The timeline of a divorce in Indiana can vary depending on several factors, including many of the same factors that influence the cost. 

Typically, an uncontested divorce in Indiana (where both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce) can be finalized more quickly, often within a few months. 

Contested divorces, on the other hand, can take up to a year or even longer. 

The complexity of the issues, the court’s schedule, and the level of cooperation between the parties can all affect how long divorce takes in Indiana. To get a better sense of the timeline for your particular circumstances, it often helps to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with Indiana divorce laws.

What is the cheapest way to get a divorce in Indiana?

The cheapest way to get a divorce in Indiana is through an uncontested divorce. But of course, this option is only available if you and your ex-spouse agree on all divorce-related issues.

If you do, you and your spouse can submit a proposed marital settlement agreement to the court for its approval. This process is generally faster, easier, and less expensive than going through a contested divorce.

What is the cost of an uncontested divorce in Indiana?

The cost of uncontested divorce in Indiana can sometimes be limited to the filing fees and court costs, assuming the divorcing couple is able to agree on all relevant issues and avoid hiring lawyers.

If the parties are able to do this, the cost of an uncontested divorce in Indiana can be less than $1,000, including the ~$200 filing fee.

How much does it cost to get a divorce if both parties agree in Indiana?

In Indiana, if both parties agree to get a divorce and they agree on all divorce-related issues, then they can file for an uncontested divorce. As noted, the cost of an uncontested divorce in Indiana can be less than $1,000.

But if the couple disagrees about even a single divorce-related issue, they must file for a contested divorce, increasings costs and the timeline of the divorce process.

It is still helpful if both parties agree to get the divorce in the first place, though. Cooperating as much as possible throughout the divorce process will help keep divorce costs down.

But simply agreeing to pursue a divorce is not enough to file for an uncontested divorce, which is what can really decrease the overall cost of divorce in Indiana.

The Final Word on the Cost of Divorce in Indiana

So, how much does a divorce cost in Indiana? Let’s recap the key takeaways. 

Factors such as filing fees, court costs, attorneys' fees, the complexity of your divorce, and how amicable or contentious things are with your spouse all influence the overall cost of divorce in Indiana. 

Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer can provide valuable expertise. But for those concerned about costs, there are lower-cost options available. Limited-scope representation and Legal Aid organizations can offer more affordable alternatives than hiring a divorce attorney. 

It often helps to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can address your concerns and provide personalized guidance. If you speak with an attorney, be sure to ask these questions during the initial consultation to evaluate whether the divorce lawyer you speak with is the right fit for you.