Your decision to get a divorce was probably not something you came too easily. You have probably already experienced your fair share of stress and frustration. Now that you have decided on divorce, you want to move forward as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Fortunately, getting divorced in Vermont can be a straightforward process, particularly if you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested marriage – one where you agree on all important terms of the divorce, like property division and child custody (if you have children). In this instance, you may qualify to start the divorce on your own by filling out the required divorce papers for Vermont and filing them with your county clerk. Using a divorce paper preparation service like CompleteCase.com can make things even simpler by ensuring that you have the right Vermont forms and that those documents are filled out correctly the first time.
If you and your spouse are having trouble coming to divorce terms that you can both agree on, you may benefit from visiting a mediator. Divorce mediation in Vermont gives you the option of working on terms with the help of a professional mediator, someone skilled in helping divorcing couples reach equitable decisions.
The following information was compiled to help you to understand the basics of divorce in Vermont, and how you can start your own divorce.
Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in Vermont in 2011 was 3.6 for every 1,000 residents. The divorce rate in Vermont is somewhere in the middle of rates by state in the U.S.
Vermont permits both no-fault divorces and fault-based divorces. In a no-fault divorce, you only need to indicate that your marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Many people prefer no-fault divorces because they do not require placing blame for the end of the marriage, and they are often less-costly and faster than a fault-based divorce. In a fault-based divorce, you have to prove one of the grounds accepted by the state to get the divorce, such as adultery or extreme cruelty.
To file for divorce in Vermont you or your spouse must have lived there for six months. Vermont is unusual in that it requires one of you to have lived in the state for at least one year before it will finalize the divorce. So even if you file at six months, you will need to wait until one of you meets the year-long term before it will be complete.
The specific divorce papers required in Vermont you’ll need will depend on your situation. If you have minor children with your spouse, you will fill out forms for divorces with children. If you do not have children, you will fill out forms for divorces without children. The county where you file may also have unique forms that you must complete. It is always a good idea to contact your county court where you intend to file to verify that you are completing all necessary forms.
Some of the common divorce forms including the “Complaint for Divorce (with or without children)”, the “Property Affidavit” and the “Notice of Appearance”. You can find a wide range of divorce documents on the Vermont Judiciary website. You should review all the different options and read as much information as you can on divorce before you file, such as the “Divorce in Vermont” pamphlet provided by the court. The more informed you are about divorce the better you will be able to look out for your interests during the process.
If you find the number of documents available to you overwhelming, you are not alone. Without help it can be difficult to decipher what forms you need and what some of the forms are asking for. To get help with the paperwork, many people in Vermont choose CompleteCase.com to complete their divorce papers online. At CompleteCase.com you’ll feel confident that you are filling out the appropriate documents for your situation, and that they are filled out correctly. This can help you avoid unnecessary delays or costs in the divorce due to incorrect documents or missing information.
When you have completed your divorce papers for Vermont you will need to print at least three copies of each form. The court will take one when you file. One set you will keep for your records and one set you will serve to your spouse. Avoid signing the forms until you are in the presence of a notary public. Some courts offer notary services, but it is always best to check before you try to go file
When you are ready to take your divorce papers to the court, you should contact the clerk and verify that you are bringing all you are supposed to bring, including a form of payment that the court accepts for the state filing fee. If you do not have money for the filing fee you can request a waiver. If the court accepts the waiver you can file for free.
When you have paid the filing fee (or received the waiver) the clerk will stamp your documents and you will need to serve your spouse.
Vermont gives you several options for serving the divorce papers to your spouse. If you and your spouse are on good terms, he or she can complete an “Acceptance of Service” which allows you to serve the papers in person. If you do not want to serve the papers in-person, you can hire a sheriff's deputy to do it for a fee. The sheriff will deliver the papers and then give you proof that the documents were accepted by your spouse, which you will file with the court. You can also mail the documents, though you will need to show proof that the papers were received by your soon-to-be former spouse in the form of a return receipt, which you will file with the court.
When the divorce papers have been served, you will wait to get a hearing date from the court. If you and your spouse are in agreement on the divorce terms this can happen fairly quickly. If you have to argue terms to the court, you can expect the process to take much longer.
It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
I greatly appreciate the convenience and simplicity of the service provided by
I will recommend it to anyone of my friends or associates who are in need of a similar service.
It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
By Deborah Sharp, USA TODAY
Couples can find a mate, fill out a bridal registry and plan a honeymoon on the computer. Now they can also divorce online.
A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered.
The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. Changing trends in the USA Average age of first marriage Divorce year male female Divorced Americans Divorces granted 1970 23.2 20.8 4.3 million 0.7 million 2000 26.8 25.1 19.9 million 1.2 million Sources: U.S. Census; National Center for Health Statistics
No national figures exist on self-representation. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1.2 million couples divorcing annually in the USA do so without a lawyer representing at least one of the parties.
The Web site, www.completecase.com, differs from the many self-help sites offering advice, referrals or downloads of documents needed to file for divorce in a particular state.
For $249, the Web site prompts couples with questions on everything from dividing financial assets to deciding where the kids celebrate birthdays. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing. But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage.
Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog.
"The decision to get a divorce comes way before the decision about how to get a divorce," says Finney, 35, who is happily married. "I don't think anyone takes their wedding vows so frivolously that they're going to get a divorce just because they can do it for $249."
Not everyone is thrilled with the notion of cyber-divorce.
Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
"I can only think of one use of the Internet that's worse and that's pornography," says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a religious group based in Little Rock. "We're trying to do all we can to call people to keep their wedding vows."
FamilyLife has joined with 30 other organizations since 1999 in drawing 175,000 spouses nationwide to "I Still Do" ceremonies that affirm marriage.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once.
A study released last month by the U.S. Census shows about 90% of Americans will marry at some point. For men, 54% married just once. For women, 60%. Serial marriage is rare: Only 3% of Americans have married three times or more; 13% have married twice.
Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1,000 couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
"We never got along on anything through our entire marriage, but we still managed to come to an agreement," says Kiss, 36, a hospital business-services manager. "Why drag it out and make it complicated?"
She says the online split was cheaper and easier than her first, traditional divorce. Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating.
"I like surfing the Web," she says, "but not for men."
Ernesto Gomez and his wife Blanca had been planning to get a divorce for three years. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense. Hiring a lawyer, they were told, would cost at least $1,500. Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks.
So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called completecase.com that would let him fill out the paperwork online for just $249, he decided to give it a try. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. "CompleteCase gives you step-by-step instructions. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami.
Gomez is not the only one turning to the Internet to simplify the process. Other services, like divorcewizards. com and divorcesyourself.com also offer quickie online divorce kits, usually for $300 or less. No lawyer is involved unless a client chooses to pay extra for a consultation by phone or e-mail.
Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.com says his site has handled more than 30,000 divorces since its launch in 2001. Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process.
Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. "Instant divorce is the last thing we need," says Mike McManus, president of the marriage advocacy group Marriage Savers. Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences.
Still, such services are spreading. Utah and California offer do-it-yourself sites that let you fill the forms out online (for $20 at utcourts.gov/how to; free at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp) Traffic on the California site rose from 6,800 page views in May 2002 to nearly 17,000 in May 2003. --By Anita Hamilton
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Nov 19, 2001; MARTIN MILLER;
Abstract: Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
Full Text: (Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2001 All rights reserved)
The circle of online life is now complete. You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online.
Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For a flat fee of $249, the site walks divorcing couples step-by- step through such issues as community property and calculating child support payments. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse.
But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. "If you can't agree on who gets the kids, our site is not for you," says Finney, a married 35-year-old.
The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. Last month, California was added, and soon Florida, New York and Oregon are expected to be added. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
Naturally, Finney disagrees. "I think our Web site has the opposite effect," he said. "If you're going to get divorced, let's do it in a civil manner. I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce."
The inspiration for the project came from his law practice, where he primarily handles divorces. It took about a year to get the site up and running. "On almost a daily basis, I would get clients who said they needed a divorce but didn't have the money or the patience with the legal process to pursue it," he said. "These people are really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months. "It isn't quite as fast as a Las Vegas divorce," he says.
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