Idaho Divorce Basics

Learn the basics of a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, in Idaho.

This article outlines the rules and procedures for getting a divorce in Idaho.

Grounds for Divorce

 Idaho is a no-fault state, which means that a court may grant a divorce based on a representation that there are “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses; no other reasons for divorce are needed. However, the Idaho Code also allows a spouse to allege the traditional fault-related grounds for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, and addiction to alcohol. These grounds might also factor in to the judge’s decision about spousal support.

Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

 To file for divorce in Idaho, the person filing for divorce (known as the plaintiff or the petitioner) must have been a resident of the state for at least six full weeks. After the divorce papers are served on the other spouse, there’s a waiting period of at least 20 days before a judgment can be entered.  

Property Division in Idaho

 Idaho is a community property state, which means that all of the assets and debts that the couple acquired during the marriage are divided equally between the two parties at divorce. Any property or debt that the parties had before getting married remains separate property of the original owner unless that person added the other spouse to title during the marriage.  

The court has different ways of dividing up the community property. The parties may sell and liquidate all of their assets and divide the money, or they may split up the different properties and debts based on the value of each item. In making these divisions, the court will look at a few factors, including the duration of the marriage, whether there are any prenuptial agreements, the needs of each spouse, and the present and potential earning capacities of each spouse.

Alimony

The judge may order one party to pay alimony to the other, either in monthly payments or a lump sum amount. There are many factors that a judge would look at in setting the alimony amount and the duration of alimony, including the earning abilities of both spouses, the duration of the marriage, and the financial resources of the spouse asking for alimony.  

Child Support

Child support is intended to take care of the child and to make sure that the child’s standard of living remains the same after divorce as it was during the marriage. The court will consider both parents’ incomes and each parent will be ordered to be responsible for a certain portion of the child’s expenses. The guidelines can be found on this  website.  

There is a minimum support amount of $50 in Idaho unless a judge finds there’s a reason for a lower amount. If the parents’ total combined monthly income is less than $800, the court may have to reevaluate the parents’ income and expenses to determine a support amount that will allow the parents to take care of the child and provide self-support at a minimum subsistence level.  

Child support payments in Idaho are automatically withheld from the paying parent’s paycheck and are made to the Child Support Services of the Department of Health and Welfare. This way, there are consistent payments between the parents as well as a record of all payments.

Child Custody  

When deciding the legal and physical custody of a child, the court will consider the wishes of the child and the parents, the stability and continuity of each parent’s relationship with the child, as well as the character and circumstances of both parents. These are all factors in the evaluation of the best interests of the child. The court will also consider domestic violence history.

For cases in which one parent plans to relocate in conflict with the parents’ current custody arrangement, the moving parent must show that the move would be in the best interests of the child.    This would not apply to cases in which the relocation of one parent would not disrupt the custody arrangement.

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