How to File Divorce in Idaho

Filing a divorce in Idaho

It may surprise you that, at least according to one bit of research, Idaho has the country’s second-highest divorce rate.  

Idahoans get married at a high rate, relatively young, and with relatively low incomes, and that all seems to impact the divorce rate.  

If you are considering adding your marriage to this sad statistic, here are the basics of what you need to know.

1. Residents only

Before you can file for divorce in Idaho, you must have been a resident of the state for at least six weeks. That generally means physically living in the state on an indefinite basis, not just visiting.

2. Grounds for divorce in Idaho

Idaho has fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.

The fault grounds include adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, habituation intemperance, conviction of a felony, and insanity. Some spouses will seek a divorce on fault grounds, either to influence decisions regarding money and children or simply to feel vindicated.  

Almost all divorces will be granted on a no-fault basis.  

That just means the couple wants to split up and go their separate ways without anyone doing anything legally wrong.  In Idaho, no-fault divorces are granted when the couple has “irreconcilable differences.”  

In the law that is defined as “substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.”  A court is rarely going to dig into the details on this issue. If at least one spouse wants to split up, the divorce is going to be granted.

3. Basic divorce process

The Idaho courts have done an excellent job of preparing forms with clear instructions that can help couples figure out their divorce without a lawyer if necessary.

The first step is to file a petition for divorce. The petition requires a spouse to list all the significant assets they own separately, as well as all the “community” property that is owned by both spouses together. For the most part, anything a spouse acquired during a marriage (with few exceptions like gifts and inheritances) is going to be considered community property in Idaho.  

If a couple has children, the petition for divorce has to address what will be done with them. The parent filing the petition has to explain where the child has lived over the past five years, plus what the parent is seeking going forward in terms of custody and visitation.

Child support has to be addressed too.

One parent can be required to pay money to help the other parent care for the child. The parents’ income is an important factor in this determination, and issues like health insurance can be considered too.  

In most situations, divorce is resolved by agreement between the parties.

Idaho gives a spouse the option to respond to a divorce petition with a stipulation signed by both parties.  If the parties can agree, then the judge will simply review the agreement and finalize the divorce.

This procedure can save time and expense for both the court system and the spouses.  

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