Overview of Divorce in Vermont

Vermont divorce laws are rather much like the divorce laws in many other states. Anyone planning on filing for divorce in Vermont can probably get a quick grasp of the basics of the law quite easily.

Residency Requirements for Vermont Divorces

In order to file for divorce in Vermont, a person must have lived in the state for at least six months or more. However, the divorce will not be finalized until or unless a person has lived in the state for at least a period of one year or more before the last divorce hearing. Temporary absence—such as due to illness, employment, or deployment for the armed forces—will not affect the requirements.

Grounds for Divorce in Vermont

Vermont courts will grant divorces for several different grounds. The plaintiff (the person who files for divorce) must prove the grounds for divorce to the court. Here are the possible grounds that may be used:

  • Adultery
  • A spouse is sentenced to be confined to prison for three years or more—and is actually confined at the time of the divorce filing
  • Intolerable severity or cruelty
  • Willful desertion for seven years—and the spouse has not been heard from during that time
  • A spouse has the ability to provide for the other spouse, yet refuses or neglects to do so
  • Incurable insanity
  • A spouse has lived separately from the other spouse for six or more consecutive months—and the court sees that the continuation of marital relations is not probable

Property Distribution

In Vermont, property division is done equitably. This means that it is done in a fair manner, but not necessarily an equal manner. A divorcing couple is encouraged to figure out a method through which to divide their own property and assets; however, this is not always possible. In these cases, the courts must step in and decide for the couple.

Spousal Support

Vermont courts may or may not order one spouse to make support payments to the other. These payments may be temporary or permanent in nature. These are decided by looking at these factors:

  • Spousal support may be awarded if one spouse lacks enough income, property, or both to provide for his or her needs.
  • Payments may be awarded if a spouse cannot support himself or herself to the standard of living established in the marriage through employment or if the spouse cares for the couple's children.

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