Whether you apply for divorce on your own or with a lawyer’s help, knowing all the steps of dissolution of marriage in Idaho helps alleviate anxiety and prepare for all the procedures and requirements. Typically, a divorcing couple should meet residency requirements, compile and file all the paperwork, and reach a settlement agreement over custody, support, and property. Let’s look in greater detail at each stage of the divorce process in Idaho.
With or Without an Attorney
This is an essential question that will determine your strategy, including what you need to know and who will handle the bulk of the paperwork. Here are the options you can consider before filing for divorce.
- Contested divorce. If one or both spouses contest any part of the divorce process, the court will convene. Typically, the spouses each hire an attorney to assist with negotiations and represent their best interests during the proceeding.
- Uncontested divorce. If both spouses agree to handle all their divorce-related issues before appearing in court, it significantly simplifies the case. The divorcing spouses may opt to use legal services. However, if spouses don’t contest custody, property, or support, they can have a Do It Yourself Divorce. In a DIY divorce, the petitioner prepares divorce forms and files them at the district’s local court on their own. This is the most inexpensive option to end a marriage.
- Divorce by default. The petitioner can get divorced without the respondent’s participation. If the respondent (the spouse who receives the divorce paper from a sheriff or by certified mail) gets served and fails to respond within a 20-day window, the court grants the petitioner a divorce decree following the conditions he or she requested in the divorce petition.
- Divorce by stipulation allows the spouses, who have reached an amicable decision to divorce and divide their parental duties and property, to file for divorce together and end their marriage faster.
Divorce Requirements in Idaho
Residency requirements. Before filing to divorce in Idaho, either spouse must have lived in the state for at least six weeks. It’s the shortest residency requirement in the US. If you fail to meet the residency requirements and file the divorce complaint anyway, the court will not consider your case until six weeks pass.
Grounds for divorce. As a no-fault state, Idaho law does not require divorcing spouses to identify any reason (grounds) for divorce other than “irreconcilable differences.” However, there is the option of a fault-based divorce based on adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, felony conviction, habitual drunkenness, or permanent insanity. But if a fault-based ground is used, legal representation is required, which significantly increases the cost of divorce.
Decide on Divorce-Related Issues
If you pursue a DIY divorce, it makes sense to resolve all issues before filing the divorce papers to finish your dissolution of marriage as quickly as possible. The agreement, which goes by different names (a divorce settlement agreement, separation agreement, or custody, support, and property agreement), memorializes in writing what you and your spouse have decided regarding child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and property division. However, it is possible to file for divorce before you reach an agreement and then handle all the issues during the waiting period.
Uncontested Divorce Process in Idaho
If you want to file for divorce, here are steps for you to take.
Step 1. Find the Idaho divorce forms. They are available at a local court. Or through online divorce companies that assist divorcing spouses to complete divorce online. Fill out the forms (online or by hand) and make two copies. Sign the divorce petition in the presence of a notary.
Step 2. Make sure you know where to file. Before filing your paperwork, go to a court locator on the Idaho Judicial Branch and find a court in your magistrate division that handles divorce proceedings.
Step 3. File the papers with the court’s clerk. When filing, you’ll be asked to pay filing fees. After paying, the clerk will assign the case a number that will go on all your divorce documents. If you can’t afford the filing fee (it is $207 in Idaho), ask the clerk if your household income qualifies you for a fee waiver.
Step 4. Serve your spouse. Assemble the file-stamped copies of the divorce paperwork into a package to serve on your spouse and hire a sheriff or a process server to complete the service process. The responding spouse has 20 days to file an answer. If you and your spouse agree on the divorce, you can waive service and file a service waiver together with other divorce documents at the court.
Step 5. Wait 20 days. After the respondent is served with the paperwork, the judge allows spouses 20 days to contemplate and file the rest of the paperwork. Use that time to sign a settlement agreement stipulating the terms of child custody, child support, spouse support, and distribution of marital assets. If you have children, you are required to attend a parent education class and submit written proof of your attendance to the court. Also, submit financial disclosures the court will use in deciding on child and spousal support.
Step 6. Attend a court hearing. After the waiting period, clarify with the court’s clerk what day your divorce case is scheduled. The court date depends on the workload of the judge and can take 30 to 90 days. Attend the court proceeding in person and answer the judge’s questions.
When getting a divorce, you will most likely want to have some help at an affordable price. Whereas hiring a lawyer remains the most expensive option, completing paperwork for divorce over the Internet costs almost nothing in comparison. You can take your time filling out the court forms and listing all required data. Internet divorce services offer divorcing couples help with preparing an application for divorce online.