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.