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Vermont Divorce Facts
When going through a divorce in in Vermont, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Vermont should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Vermont Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Vermont Divorce Professional.
Either spouse may file for divorce if he or she has resided within the state for a period of six months or more, but a divorce shall not be decreed for any cause, unless either the plaintiff or the defendant has resided in the state one year preceding the date of final hearing.
The court grants divorces on one of two grounds: no-fault, when a married person has lived apart from his or her spouse for six consecutive months and the court finds that the resumption of marital relations is not reasonably probable, and on fault grounds that include adultery by either party, incarceration when either party is sentenced to confinement at hard labor in prison for life, or for three years or more, intolerable severity in either party, desertion or when either party has been absent for seven years and not heard of during that time, neglect, on complaint of either party when one spouse has sufficient pecuniary or physical ability to provide suitable maintenance for the other and, without cause, persistently refuses or neglects to do so, and incurable insanity of either party.
A legal separation forever or for a limited time may be granted for any of the causes for which an absolute divorce may be granted.
Vermont is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital estate is divided equitably as compared to equally. Title to the property, whether in the names of the husband, the wife, both parties, or a nominee, shall be immaterial, except where equitable distribution can be made without disturbing separate property. In making a property settlement, the court may consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the occupation, source and amount of income of each of the parties, vocational skills and employability, the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other, the value of all property interests, liabilities, and needs of each party, whether the property settlement is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance, the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income, the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live there for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children, the party through whom the property was acquired, the contribution of each spouse in the acquisition, preservation, and depreciation or appreciation in value of the respective estates, including the non-monetary contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, and the respective merits of the parties.
The court may order either spouse to make maintenance payments, either rehabilitative or permanent in nature, to the other spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance needs the income and lacks property or both, or is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment at the standard of living established during the marriage, or is the custodian of a child of the parties.
The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, after considering all relevant factors including, but not limited to: the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, the property apportioned to the party, the party's ability to meet his or her needs independently, and the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party contains a sum for that party as custodian, the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the standard of living established during the marriage; the duration of the marriage, the age and the physical and emotional condition of each spouse, the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her reasonable needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance, and inflation with relation to the cost of living.
Upon granting a divorce to a woman, unless good cause is shown to the contrary, the court may allow her to resume her maiden name or the name of a former husband. The court may change the names of the minor children of divorced parents when application for that purpose is made in the complaint for divorce.
The court, in deciding custody, is indifferent to the gender of both the child and the parent. The court may divide custody between the parents on such terms and conditions as serve the best interests of the child, or the court shall award parental rights and responsibilities primarily or solely to one parent when the parents cannot agree to divide or share parental rights and responsibilities. The court is guided by the best interests of the child, and considers: the relationship of the child with each parent and the ability and disposition of each parent to provide the child with love, affection and guidance, the ability and disposition of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, medical care, other material needs and a safe environment, the ability and disposition of each parent to meet the child's present and future developmental needs, the quality of the child's adjustment to the child's present housing, school and community and the potential effect of any change, the ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing contact with the other parent, including physical contact, except where contact will result in harm to the child or to a parent, the quality of the child's relationship with the primary care provider, if appropriate given the child's age and development, the relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child, the ability and disposition of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other and make joint decisions concerning the children where parental rights and responsibilities are to be shared or divided, and any evidence of abuse.
Vermont bases child support on the Income Shares model. In any proceeding to establish or modify child support, the total child support obligation for the children who are the subject of the support order shall be adjusted if a parent is also responsible for the support of additional dependants that are not the subject of the support order.
The total support obligation shall be presumed to be the amount of child support needed. Upon request of a party, the court shall consider the following factors in respect to both parents: the financial resources of the child, the financial resources of the custodial parent, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marital relationship not been discontinued, the physical and emotional condition of the child, the educational needs of the child, the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent, inflation, the costs of meeting the educational needs of either parent, if the costs are incurred for the purpose of increasing the earning capacity of the parent, extraordinary travel and other travel-related expenses incurred in exercising the right to parent-child contact, and any other factors the court finds relevant.
The court may order support to be continued until the child attains the age of majority or terminates secondary education; whichever is later.
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