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Vermont - Divorce Requirements
The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Vermont divorce.

Click here for more specific information regarding Vermont divorce laws.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Residency Requirements A complaint for divorce can be filed when either party has resided in Vermont for at least 6 months. However, a divorce can't be finalized until one party has resided in Vermont for at least one year next preceding the date of final hearing. Temporary absence from the state because of illness, employment, military service, or other legitimate and bona fide cause, shall not affect the residency, provided the person has otherwise retained residence in this state.
Where to File 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.
Grounds for Divorce A divorce from the bond of matrimony may be decreed:
  • For adultery in either party
  • When either party is sentenced to confinement at hard labor in the state prison in this state for life, or for three years or more, and is actually confined at the time of the bringing of the libel; or when either party being without the state, receives a sentence for an equally long term of imprisonment by a competent court having jurisdiction as the result of a trial in any one of the other states of the United States, or in a federal court, or in any one of the territories, possessions or other courts subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, or in a foreign country granting a trial by jury, and is actually confined at the time of the bringing of the libel
  • For intolerable severity in either party
  • For wilful 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
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Upon motion of either party to a proceeding under this chapter, the court shall settle the rights of the parties to their property, by including in its judgment provisions which equitably divide and assign the property. All property owned by either or both of the parties, however and whenever acquired, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the court. 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 nonmonetary contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
  • The respective merits of the parties
Child Custody The court may order parental rights and responsibilities to be divided or shared between the parents on such terms and conditions as serve the best interests of the child. When the parents cannot agree to divide or share parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall award parental rights and responsibilities primarily or solely to one parent. The court shall not apply a preference for one parent over the other because of the sex of the child, the sex of a parent or the financial resources of a parent.

In making an order under this section, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child, and shall consider at least the following factors:
  • 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
  • Evidence of abuse, as defined in section 1101 of this title, and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent
Child Support Except in situations where there is shared or split physical custody, the total child support obligation shall be divided between the parents in proportion to their respective available incomes and the noncustodial parent shall be ordered to pay, in money, his or her share of the total support obligation to the custodial parent. The custodial parent shall be presumed to spend his or her share directly on the child.

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. If, after consideration of these factors, the court finds that application of the guidelines is unfair to the child or to any of the parties, the court may adjust the amount of child support:
  • 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 noncustodial 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
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant
Spousal Support In an action under this chapter, 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 and 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