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Vermont Divorce Laws

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Vermont Divorce Laws:

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

A complaint for divorce or annulment of marriage may be brought if either party to the marriage has resided within the state for a period of six months or more, but a divorce shall not be decreed for any cause, unless the plaintiff or the defendant has resided in the state one year next preceding the date of final hearing. Temporary absence from the state because of illness, employment, service in the armed forces, shall not affect the above requirements, provided the person has otherwise retained residence in this state.

Complaints for divorce for any cause and for affirming or annulling the marriage contract shall be brought in the county in which the parties or one of them resides. Superior courts shall hear and determine complaints for divorce and for affirming or annulling the marriage contract and may issue process of attachment, execution and other proper process necessary for the dispatch and final determination of such causes. [Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15: Chapter 11: Subchapter 3 - Section 591, 592, and 593]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A divorce from the bond of matrimony may be decreed:

  • For adultery in either part.
  • When either party is sentenced to confinement at hard labor in prison for life, or for three years or more, and is actually confined at the time of the bringing of the libel.
  • For intolerable severity in either party.
  • For willful desertion or when either party has been absent for seven years and not heard of during that time.
  • 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 so to do.
  • On the ground of incurable insanity of either party, as provided for in sections 631-637 of this title.
  • 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.

[Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Chapter 11: Subchapter 2 - Section 555]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

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. [Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Chapter 11: Subchapter 2 - Section 555]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

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.
  • The respective merits of the parties.

[Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Chapter 11: Section 751]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

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:

  • Lacks sufficient income, property, or both, including property apportioned in accordance with section 751 of this title, to provide for his or her reasonable needs.
  • 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.
  • Inflation with relation to the cost of living.

[Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Chapter 11: Section 752]

NAME CHANGE:

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. [Based on Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Chapter 11: Subchapter 3 - Section 558 and 559]

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