A brief guide to divorce in Vermont
Married Vermont couples who are thinking of separating temporarily or permanently should be aware of the following things:
Vermont state divorce laws
Any plaintiff filing for divorce in Vermont must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. In addition, for the case to move forward at least one of the spouses involved must have been a resident of the state for a year or longer.
Grounds for divorce
Aside from no-fault cases, grounds for at-fault divorce in Vermont include:
• A spouse being imprisoned for three or more years
• Desertion of seven years or longer
• Insanity which has no hope of a cure
• One party has the ability to earn enough money to help maintain their partner but refuses to do so
• Any difficult behavior which makes married life impossible to maintain
Couples who wish to separate temporarily or permanently without officially filing for divorce in Vermont may enter into a legal separation agreement. These legally binding documents resolve the same issues that are considered during divorce proceedings. A spouse can petition for legal separation on the same grounds as they would for a divorce.
Types of divorce
When a couple agrees to divorce and on the terms of their separation, they can submit a plan outlining their uncontested divorce in Vermont. If one spouse does not wish to separate or both spouses cannot agree on child custody, alimony or other issues, their uncontested divorce will be resolved by a judge’s ruling.
No fault divorce
Couples who wish to file for no fault divorce must first live apart for 6 months and state that there is no chance for reconciliation. No wrongdoing on either spouse’s part must be proved for this kind of divorce in Vermont to be approved.
Steps in the divorce process
After a petition for divorce is filed by the plaintiff, the other spouse will be served with a notice of the complaint and have a chance to officially respond. Vermont has no steps for a simplified divorce process allowing spouses to avoid a court appearance. However, a written plan for divorce in Vermont may be submitted for approval. Court-supervised mediation will attempt to achieve this before the court date. Written agreements considering children will be approved without a court hearing.
In awarding alimony on a permanent or temporary basis, judges will take into account:
• the marriage’s duration
• the age and health of both parties
• inflation’s effects on the cost of living
• how much time the person seeking alimony needs to acquire new skills or education to become self-sustaining
Judges are allowed to decide which factors are relevant when considering child support payments, including:
• Travel expenses for both parents to maintain contact with their child
• The standard of living the child experienced during the marriage
• Health insurance costs
Fathers’ and mothers’ rights
Gender is not taken into consideration when awarding child custody. Both parents’ emotional and fiscal fitness to take custody of a child will be considered along with their ability to work together for the child’s welfare.