Uncontested Divorce in Vermont
Understanding the process to obtain an uncontested divorce in Vermont.
Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences in a person’s life – whether a parent or a child. However, some divorces are far more amicable, faster and easier than others. Know that your divorce does not have to become the plot of a Lifetime movie because there is an easier way to end your marriage – an "uncontested" divorce.
Vermont’s uncontested divorce process allows spouses to reach an agreement on all issues in their divorce and avoid the headache and stress of attending a trial before a judge.
This article provides a general overview of the uncontested divorce process in Vermont. If after reading this article, you still have questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce, contact a local family law attorney for advice.
Overview of Uncontested Divorces in Vermont
Uncontested divorces are an option for Vermont couples with or without children. These types of divorces are generally less expensive and quicker than traditional divorces that are required to go through trial. Even the filing fee for divorce is significantly cheaper if you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce.
If spouses are able to agree on all issues in their divorce, including child custody, visitation and child support, then an uncontested divorce is an expedited option. For more information on calculating child support for divorce purposes in Vermont, click here.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on any issue in the divorce, then your divorce is considered contested and you’ll be required a trial where a judge will decide the remaining issues in your case. The following is a list of major issues that must be resolved by the spouses before filing an uncontested divorce action in Vermont:
- division of real estate and personal property
- division of debts and assets
- child custody and visitation arrangements if you have minor children
- child support, health and insurance coverage
- alimony or spousal support, and
- any other issues related to your marriage.
Beginning the Uncontested Divorce Process in Vermont
To obtain an uncontested divorce in Vermont you must meet the following criteria:
- you or your spouse have resided in Vermont for at least 6 months
- you and your spouse have agreed on all issues in your divorce, and
- child support and spousal support, custody and visitation are not requested, or there is a written agreement signed by both parties resolving those issues.
If you meet the all above criteria, you may proceed with your uncontested divorce by filing the required forms set forth below. The Vermont Court System publishes a Domestic Relations Handbook focused on women, but with information useful to either spouse attempting complete the divorce process on their own.
If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for filing the right documents with the right court. Vermont’s family courts oversee all divorce cases and trials. Vermont has 14 family courts in each of its counties. Where you live will determine where you file for divorce; although generally, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county in which you live. If you and your spouse live in separate counties within Vermont, either the county in which you live, or where your spouse lives, is fine to file your paperwork.
Preparing Your Divorce Forms
The Vermont Judiciary offers online forms for completing an uncontested divorce available here and or in hard copy at your local courthouse. The following documents must be filed with your divorce paperwork:
- Complaint for Divorce
- Vermont Record of Divorce and Annulment
- Acceptance and Appearance by Defendant
- Final Stipulation
If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, then the following forms must be filed as well:
- Stipulated Child Support Order
- Guideline Worksheet, and
- Affidavits of Income.
Completing Your Divorce
The required paperwork to complete a divorce in Vermont varies from county to county and depending on where you live, forms in addition to those listed above may be required to complete your divorce. Check with your local court clerk for more information and to determine whether you need to file additional forms.
Unlike some other states, Vermont does not have a set timeline on how long spouses have to wait for a divorce. In other words, you divorce will take as long as it takes to have an uncontested final hearing before the court. Once you have filed a final stipulation, the court clerk will schedule a hearing for you and your spouse before the judge. The judge will make a decision and sign a Divorce Order. The date the judge signs the Divorce Order, not necessarily the hearing date, is when your divorce becomes final.
If you have additional questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce in Vermont, contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance.
For more information on uncontested divorces in Vermont, see Vermont Statutes, Title 15, Chapter 11, Subchapter 2.