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Idaho Divorce Laws
Residency and Filing Requirements:In order to file for a divorce in Idaho, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements 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)
Grounds for Filing:The Complaint for Divorce must declare the appropriate Idaho grounds upon which the divorce is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The divorce grounds are as follows:
Divorces may be granted for any of the following causes:
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.
1. Adultery. 2. Extreme cruelty. 3. Willful desertion. 4. Willful neglect. 5. Habitual intemperance. 6. Conviction of felony 7. When either the husband or wife has become permanently insane. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 603, 610)
Filing Spouse Title:Plaintiff. The Plaintiff is the spouse who initiates the filing procedure with the family law or domestic relations court.
Non-Filing Spouse Title:Defendant. The Defendant is the spouse who does not file the initial divorce papers, but rather receives them by service.
Court Name:In the District Court of the __________ Judicial District for the State of Idaho, in and for the County of __________. This is the Idaho court where the divorce will be filed. The court will assign a case number and have jurisdictional rights to facilitate and grant the orders concerning, but not limited to: property and debt division, support, custody, and visitation. The name of the court is clearly represented at the top of all documents that are filed.
Primary Documents:Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce. These are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a divorce according to Idaho law. There are anywhere from ten to twenty other documents that may be required throughout the filing process. A few other documents that are typically filed during the process are: Family Law Case Information Sheet, Summons, Marital Settlement Agreement, Acknowledgement of Service By Defendant, and Sworn Stipulation for Entry of Decree.
Court Clerk's Title:District Clerk's Office. The clerk or the clerk's assistants will be the people managing your paperwork with the court. The clerk's office will keep the parties and the lawyers informed throughout the process in regards to additional paperwork that is needed, further requirements, and hearing dates and times.
Property Distribution:Idaho is a "Community Property" state. Community property is all property that was acquired during the marriage. This property will be divided equally (50-50) by the court if the parties are not able to come to an agreement.
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: (a) Unless there are compelling reasons otherwise, there shall be a substantially equal division in value, considering debts, between the spouses. (b) Factors which may bear upon whether a division shall be equal, or the manner of division, include, but are not limited to: (1) Duration of the marriage; (2) Any antenuptial agreement of the parties; provided, however, that the court shall have no authority to amend or rescind any such agreement; (3) The age, health, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills, employability, and liabilities of each spouse; (4) The needs of each spouse; (5) Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance; (6) The present and potential earning capability of each party; and (7)Retirement benefits, including, but not limited to, Social Security, Civil Service, Military and railroad retirement benefits.
If a Homestead has been selected from the community property, it may be assigned to either party, either absolutely, provided such assignment is considered in distribution of the community property, or for a limited period, subject in the latter case to the future disposition of the court; or it may be divided or be sold and the proceeds divided.
If a Homestead has been selected from the separate property of either, it must be assigned to the former owner of such property, subject to the power of the court to assign it for a limited period to the other spouse. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 712, 903)
Spousal Support:Not all cases involve support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the court's discretion.
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: (a) 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; (b) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to find employment; (c) The duration of the marriage; (d) The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; (e) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; (f) The tax consequences to each spouse; (g) The fault of either party. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 705)
Counseling or Mediation Requirements:In any action of divorce where grounds for divorce have been established, if the court finds that attempts at reconciliation are practicable and to the best interest of the family, the court may stay the proceedings for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days where there are minor children in the family.
The reconciliation procedures herein provided shall not be construed as a condonation on the part of either spouse of acts that may constitute grounds for divorce. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 716)
Child Custody:When minor children are involved in a divorce, the Idaho courts will do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion.
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: (a) The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his or her custody; (b) The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian; (c) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, and his or her siblings; (d) The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; (e) The character and circumstances of all individuals involved; (f) The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child; and (g) Domestic violence, whether or not in the presence of the child. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 717)
Child Support:Idaho child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent’s income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child. All income is typically verified by examining past W-2's and child support worksheets are available at the courthouse.
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: (a) The financial resources of the child; (b) 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; (c) The standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage; (d) The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child and his or her educational needs; (e) The availability of medical coverage for the child at reasonable cost; (f) The actual tax benefit recognized by the party claiming the federal child dependency exemption. (Idaho Code - Title 32 - Chapters: 706, 1201)
Copyright Notice: The above synopsis of Idaho divorce laws is original material which is owned and copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.
Idaho is a community property state. This means that in any Idaho divorce, the court orders a just and equitable division of property acquired during the marriage. The judge does not divide any property acquired before the marriage. Instead, each spouse keeps his or her separate property after the divorce.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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