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Idaho Divorce Laws

The following Idaho divorce laws are unique laws for people who wish to terminate their marriage.

We are providing the essential Idaho divorce laws online as an easy reference guide to help you while you are completing your divorce in Idaho.

Residency Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in Idaho, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:

A divorce must not be granted unless the plaintiff has been a resident of the state for six (6) full weeks next preceding the commencement of the action. The divorce may be filed in the county in which either the husband or the wife reside. If either spouse is not a resident of the state, the divorce must be filed in the county in which the plaintiff resides. (Idaho Code - Title 5 - Chapters: 404)

No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested divorce cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Idaho the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:

No-Fault:
1. Irreconcilable differences. 2. When married persons have heretofore lived or shall hereafter live separate and apart for a period of five (5) years or more without cohabitation, either party to the marriage contract may sue for a divorce which shall be granted on proof of the continuous living separate and apart without cohabitation of the spouses during said period of five (5) years or more. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 603, 610)

Filing Party Name: The Plaintiff. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the divorce and is the one who actually files the Complaint for Divorce with the county court.

Non-Filing Party Name: The Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.

Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: In the District Court of the __________ Judicial District for the State of Idaho, in and for the County of __________. All divorce cases in the state of Idaho are facilitated through this court for that particular county.

Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Idaho clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: District Clerk's Office.

Property and Debt Division: Idaho is considered a "community property" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the community property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is community. Second, it will put a value on the community property. Third, it will divide the community property in an equal fashion.

Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the community property must be assigned by the court in such proportions as the court, from all the facts of the case and the condition of the parties, deems just, with due consideration of the following factors: (1) Unless there are compelling reasons otherwise, there shall be a substantially equal division in value, considering debts, between the spouses. (2) Factors which may bear upon whether a division shall be equal, or the manner of division, include, but are not limited to: (a) Duration of the marriage; (b) Any antenuptial agreement of the parties; provided, however, that the court shall have no authority to amend or rescind any such agreement; (c) The age, health, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills, employability, and liabilities of each spouse; (d) The needs of each spouse; (e) Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance; (f) The present and potential earning capability of each party; and (g) Retirement benefits, including, but not limited to, Social Security, Civil Service, military and railroad retirement benefits. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 712, 903)

Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.

Where a divorce is decreed, the court may grant a maintenance order if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance: (a) Lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs; and (b) Is unable to support himself or herself through employment.

The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time that the court deems just, after considering all relevant factors which may include: (1) The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including the marital property apportioned to said spouse, and said spouse's ability to meet his or her needs independently; (2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to find employment; (3) The duration of the marriage; (4) The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; (5) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; (6) The tax consequences to each spouse; (7) The fault of either party. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 705)

Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Idaho courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.

In an action for divorce the court may, before and after judgment, give such direction for the custody, care and education of the children of the marriage as may seem necessary or proper in the best interests of the children. The court shall consider all relevant factors which may include: (1) The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his or her custody; (2) The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian; (3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, and his or her siblings; (4) The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; (5) The character and circumstances of all individuals involved; (6) The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child; and (7) Domestic violence, whether or not in the presence of the child. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 717)

Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Idaho child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.

In a proceeding for divorce or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for his or her support and education until the child is eighteen (18) years of age, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors which may include: (1) The financial resources of the child; (2) The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the custodial and noncustodial parents which ordinarily shall not include a parent's community property interest in the financial resources or obligations of a spouse who is not a parent of the child, unless compelling reasons exist; (3) The standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage; (4) The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child and his or her educational needs; (5) The availability of medical coverage for the child at reasonable cost; (6) The actual tax benefit recognized by the party claiming the Federal Child Dependency Exemption. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 706, 1201)

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