How Do I file for Divorce in Idaho

Get an overview of the divorce filing process in Idaho.

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Gavel and Scales

If you are looking to end your marriage in Idaho, there are several steps you must take to get the ball rolling. This article provides an overview of the divorce process in the Gem State.

Residency Requirement and Reasons for Divorce

Idaho's residency requirement is six weeks, which is considerably shorter than that of other states. To file a complaint, at least one spouse must have lived in Idaho for six weeks prior. Idaho law also allows both no-fault and fault-based divorce.

In a no-fault complaint, you don't get into all the reasons why the marriage didn't work out. Instead, you simply state that you and your spouse have "irreconcilable differences" that make it impossible for you to get along. If you choose to file a fault-based complaint, Idaho law allows the following grounds:

  • adultery
  • extreme cruelty
  • willful desertion -- your spouse must have lived apart from you for more than one year with the intention of abandoning the marriage
  • willful neglect -- if you're a woman, you can claim that your husband failed to provide for you; under Idaho law, "willful neglect" is defined as a husband's failure to provide his wife with the common necessaries of life for at least one year, due to his laziness or refusal to work
  • habitual drunkenness for more than one year
  • felony conviction, and
  • permanent insanity -- to claim this as a reason for the divorce, your spouse must have been a resident of a mental institution for at least three years.

Idaho also permits a spouse to file for divorce if the couple has been separated (lived apart) for at least five continuous years.

Preparing Your Forms

Whether you're handling your own divorce or using an attorney, you must file specific documents with the court. The majority of Idaho's family law forms are easily accessible from the Idaho Judicial Branch's website. The Idaho Supreme Court has grouped forms into packets, so you can quickly download the forms you need for the type of domestic case you're filing. You can also download forms individually. If you live in the Fourth Judicial District, which includes Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley Counties, you must use the family law forms specific to that district.

To file a divorce without children in Idaho, you must file the following forms:

  • Family Law Case Information Sheet
  • Complaint for Divorce (No Children)
  • Summons with Orders
  • Affidavit of Service with Orders, and
  • Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce.

If you have children, you must file the following Idaho divorce forms:

  • Family Law Case Information Sheet
  • Complaint for Divorce (With Children)
  • Summons with Orders
  • Affidavit of Service with Orders
  • Affidavit Verifying Income
  • Shared or Split Custody Worksheet OR Standard Custody Worksheet
  • Parenting Plan, and
  • Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce.

Filing Your Forms

After you have prepared all the necessary forms, file them with the Office of the Clerk of Court in your district. The clerk will take the original, along with your filing fee. You will need one copy for your personal records; the other copy is "served" on the defendant, which means you must provide the opposing party with a copy of all documents.

If you and your spouse have reached an agreement on how to divide your property and, if you have them, how to split up visitation time with your children, you can file a settlement agreement with the court before the case proceeds to the hearing stage.

Idaho law requires parties to wait at least 20 days before the court will grant a final entry of divorce. Your agreement should cover all the issues addressed in the divorce complaint and clearly explain how you are settling each item. In Idaho, as in all other states, settling a divorce on your own can save you time, money, and frustration. If you can't reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial, where the judge will decide all the issues for you.

Serving Your Forms

Idaho law requires the filing spouse to complete "service of process" on the non-filing spouse. To "serve" the other side, you must provide him or her with copies of the complaint and all other documents submitted in your initial filing with the Clerk's Office. The preferred method of service in Idaho is personal service, which requires you to deliver documents in person. Most people hire a professional process server for this task.

After your process server has delivered the documents, he or she will send you an Affidavit of Service, which lists the name and address of the person served, as well as the address where the documents were handed over. You must file this with the court to prove your documents were properly served.

If you can't find your spouse, the law also allows you to accomplish service by publishing notification of the divorce complaint in a local newspaper. If you must resort to "service by publication" Idaho law requires you to run the notice for four weeks in a row. Once you have delivered the documents or placed your notice in the paper, the defendant has 20 days to file a response to the complaint.

Financial Disclosures

If you have children age 18 or younger, Idaho law requires you and your spouse to exchange an Affidavit of Income and complete a Child Support Worksheet. The court uses these documents to calculate child support according to state guidelines.

References

Idaho Legal Aid Divorce Forms

State of Idaho Judicial Branch Court Assistance Office

Idaho Fourth Judicial District Family Law Forms

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