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Idaho Divorce Laws

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RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

To file for a divorce in Idaho, the plaintiff must be a resident of the state for at least 6 weeks before filing. The divorce may be filed with the district court in the county where either spouse resides

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A divorce may be granted on the following grounds:

  • Irreconcilable Differences.
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Willful desertion or neglect.
  • Addiction to alcohol.
  • Permanent insanity.
  • Conviction of a felony.

[Based on Idaho Statutes: 32-603]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

In actions for a legal separation, the court may determine the custody of the children, the amount of child support and alimony, the division of property and the responsibility for the payment of debts. [Based on Idaho Statutes: 32-704]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Idaho is a community property state, meaning that the marital estate is usually divided equally. The following factors may be taken into consideration when determining the property division:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • Any prenuptial agreements.
  • The age, health, occupation and earning capacity, and liabilities of each spouse.
  • The needs of each spouse.
  • Whether alimony has been awarded.
  • The retirement benefits of each spouse.

[Based on Idaho Statutes: 32-712]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

The court may order one spouse to pay alimony if it is determined that the spouse seeking support is unable to self-support and lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs. The amount of maintenance determined is based on these factors:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The fault of either party.
  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  • The time required to acquire sufficient education, find employment.
  • The age, physical and emotional condition, and earning ability of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  • The ability of the spouse paying maintenance to meet his/her own needs.

Child Custody:

Custody may be awarded to either parent, based on the "Best Interests of the Child". The court shall consider the following factors:

  • The wishes of the child.
  • The wishes of each parent.
  • The relationship of the child with each parent and his or her siblings.
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community.
  • The need to promote continuity in the child's life.
  • The relative parental fitness of each parent.
  • The evidence of domestic violence.

The court may award either joint physical custody or joint legal custody or shared custody based on the court's determination of the best interests of the child or children.

CHILD SUPPORT:

Either parent may be ordered to pay child support, with the assumption that both parents share legal responsibility for supporting their child. That legal responsibility should be divided in proportion to their Guidelines Income, whether they be separated, divorced, remarried, or never married. For a discussion of the determination of child support, please read the Idaho Child Support Guidelines:

Basic Guideline Principles. These Child Support Guidelines are premised upon the following basic principles to guide parents, lawyers, and courts in arriving at child support obligations:

  • Both parents share legal responsibility for supporting their child. That legal responsibility should be divided in proportion to their Guidelines Income, whether they be separated, divorced, remarried, or never married.
  • In any proceeding where child support is under consideration, child support shall be given priority over the needs of the parents or creditors in allocating family resources. Only after careful scrutiny should the court delay implementation of the Guidelines amount because of debt assumption.
  • Support shall be determined without regard to the gender of the custodial parent.
  • Rarely should the child support obligation be set at zero. If the monthly income of the paying parent is below $800.00, the Court should carefully review the incomes and living expenses to determine the maximum amount of support that can reasonably be ordered without denying a parent the means for self-support at a minimum subsistence level. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a minimum amount of support is at least $50.00 per month per child.

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