The Domestic Relations Division of the Vanderburgh Superior Court, commonly known as Division Four, handles cases involving Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulments, Child Custody, Visitation or Parenting Time and Child Support. The vast majority of these cases begin with the filing of a Petition for Divorce.
The Judges and Magistrates of the Vanderburgh Superior Court rotate through the Domestic Relation Division on a monthly basis. Uncontested matters are scheduled at 8:00 am in Courtroom 110. After the parties have met and attempted to reach an agreement, a contested hearing can be set before the Judge or Magistrate presiding in the month in which the hearing is scheduled. The Court will order the parties to mediation if the parties request a contested hearing for more than 1/2 day. See Vanderburgh Superior Court Division IV Rules.
An individual may hire an attorney to represent them in domestic relation cases but they are not required to do so. Because many of the issues which are decided in domestic relation cases have substantial long-term consequences for the parties and their families and because these issues can become complicated, the decision to represent oneself in these cases should not be taken lightly. Persons who want to represent themselves in domestic relation cases are responsible to prepare the necessary legal documents. Forms for many of these documents are available online through the Self-Service Legal Center.
Parties filing for divorce with children under the age of 18 are required to attend a seminar called "Transparenting Program" formerly known as "Helping Children Cope with Divorce."
When the Court grants a dissolution of marriage or a legal separation, the Court must make orders regarding the custody and support of minor children. The Indiana Supreme Court has created guidelines for this purpose. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines provide a basis for both parents to share parenting time with their children. The Indiana Supreme Court has also created guidelines for the calculation of child support. The guidelines themselves and an online child support calculator are both available. Child Support Calculator, Child Support Worksheet and Post-Secondary Worksheet, Indiana Rules of Court. The wellfare of the parties' children is always the Court's priority. In those rare instances where the Court deems it appropriate, the Court may appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate to advise the Court on issues involving the children. CASA order
The distribution of marital property and the allocation of marital debt is an important part of any divorce or legal separation order. In order to promote the full disclosure of marital assets and debts, the Vanderburgh Superior Court has enacted a local rule which requires the parties to prepare and exchange a financial disclosure form.
Unfortunately, many domestic relations cases involve family violence. Indiana law provides for the issuance of protective orders when necessary to protect individuals from domestic violence. The forms for these orders are available in the Vanderburgh County Clerk's Office and online Protective Order Forms.
See also Verification of Settlement form.