This is a complete guide to divorce in Idaho.
Idaho has one of the most expedited divorce processes in the country. Things can move quickly, which is why you need to do your homework as early as possible to understand various issues and procedures as they come up.
In this guide, we’ll address your burning questions – including some you didn’t even think to ask.
So if you want to make sure you have a lay of the land (and avoid the pitfalls), we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get started.
- What Are the grounds for divorce in Idaho?
- What is a Legal Separation?
- What is an annulment, and how is that different from divorce?
- What are your Options for Getting a Divorce in Idaho?
- What is the Process of Getting a Divorce in Idaho?
- Can I File for Divorce Online in Idaho?
- Can I Mail Divorce Papers in Idaho?
- Can I Refuse or Contest a Divorce?
- How Long Does a Divorce Take in Idaho?
- How long is the waiting period to get a divorce?
- Can I Expedite my Divorce?
- What is the Cost of a Divorce?
- Do I Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Idaho?
- How Do I Stop or Cancel a Divorce?
- What is a Contested Divorce?
- What is an Uncontested Divorce?
- What is a Divorce Decree?
- What is Proof of Divorce?
- What is a Bifurcated Divorce?
- What is a No-fault Divorce?
- How Does Infidelity Affect Divorce in Idaho?
- Changing Your Name
- Bonus: Recommended Resources for a Better Divorce
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Idaho?
You must be a resident of Idaho for at least six weeks prior to filing your initial paperwork. As long as you meet that residency requirement, you can either file for a no-fault or a fault-based divorce.
For a no-fault divorce, you only need to cite irreconcilable differences and state that your marriage can’t be saved. No other details are necessary. This is the most common ground used in Idaho divorces.
You can also file a fault-based divorce, meaning your spouse engaged in some form of inappropriate conduct that, by law, is allowable as a grounds for divorce. People sometimes file for a fault-based divorce in an attempt to give them an advantage for child support, custody, alimony or how marital assets are divided.
Fault-based reasons to start the divorce process include:
- Extreme cruelty
- Domestic violence
- Willful desertion, defined as one spouse must have lived apart for more than one year with the intention of abandoning the marriage
- Willful neglect, defined as one spouse’s failure to provide the other spouse with the common necessaries of life for at least one year, due to their laziness or refusal to work
- Habitual intemperance
- Conviction of a felony
- Permanent insanity, defined as a spouse must have been a resident of a mental institution for at least three years).
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Legal separation in Idaho is similar to divorce in that you reach decisions about a division of assets, alimony, child support and custody, and other related issues. The main difference is that you still remain married.
Legal separation is a formal court action that is much different from simply a physical separation. You are required to sign and follow a legal and binding agreement.
Many people choose to remain married for religious reasons, or a way to keep health insurance or legal immigration status. For example, if a noncitizen gets divorced, they may be deported.
What is an annulment and how is that different from divorce?
An annulment is different from a divorce in that a divorce ends a marriage. On the other hand, an annulment treats a marriage as if it never happened.
There are specific grounds for annulment in Idaho. They are:
- Underage. One of the spouses was underage at the time of the marriage and didn’t get the consent of a parent or guardian.
- Bigamy. One of the spouses was already married to a living person at the time of marriage.
- Either spouse was mentally incompetent when the marriage took place.
- Fraud. If one spouse tricked another into marriage by not revealing essential and material information.
- Force. If consent was forced, then the marriage is not valid.
- Physically incapable of entering into a marriage. It has to be ongoing and incurable.
Either spouse can request an annulment based on these grounds. Depending on the grounds, there are statutes of limitations that put a deadline on when an annulment can take place.
To start the process, you must file a Petition for Annulment in the county where you live. Often it is best to talk to a family law attorney, since there could be several kinds of issues that could be detrimental to you.
What are your Options for Getting a Divorce in Idaho?
If you want to get a divorce in the state of Idaho, you can go about it several different ways. Each has advantages and disadvantages you’ll need to consider before you make a final decision and file your divorce papers.
Do-It-Yourself divorce. This is known as an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on all the issues in advance, you can file paperwork with the court stating this fact, and you will usually be granted a divorce in a short amount of time, the least amount of emotional stress, and the lowest possible costs.
You may be able to go through the entire process without going to your local court and appearing in front of a judge, or appearing only briefly to answer a few questions.
Online divorce. It is similar to a DIY divorce, except that you rely a lot more on pre-printed forms and online services or attorneys to provide you with legal advice and help you complete the required paperwork.
The automated approach can save a lot of money, but you need to be careful about making costly mistakes if you go this route.
Divorce mediation. You meet with a neutral third party who helps you work through the areas of disagreement you have, such as marital property division, child custody and visitation, child support, and related issues. When you strike an agreement, you draw up a proposal and submit it to the local court for approval.
This is a quicker, cheaper, and less contentious route for many couples than going through a full-blown trial.
Collaborative divorce. It is an option for couples who still have a fair amount of cooperation and trust between them, and they want to divorce without a fuss. Any disagreements are resolved respectfully and amicably with the support of attorneys who are specially trained in collaborative law.
This solution is less costly than other forms of divorce and leaves decisions with the couple, and not a judge. If collaboration fails, you can move forward with other types of divorce, but you will need to retain a different attorney if you do.
Litigation. Litigation is a traditional approach to the divorce filing process. You and your attorneys engage with your filing spouse and their attorneys (or the other way around) in an attempt to negotiate a settlement before going to trial. About 95% of all litigated divorces end this way.
If you can reach an agreement through a negotiated settlement or arbitration instead of a trial, then you can save some time and aggravation.
Arbitration. Similar to mediation, but instead of a third-party mediator, you will work with a third party, often a private judge, who will listen to both sides and then issue a binding ruling.
People often choose this when there is a fair amount of conflict, but they don’t want the public exposure, cost, and attention that a full trial brings.
What is the Process of Getting a Divorce in Idaho?
After you meet Idaho state residency requirements, you can file for divorce. Every divorce process is a bit different, but there are some common steps all divorces follow in the state.
The person who files for divorce is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the defendant. You may represent yourself in your divorce case without the help of an attorney.
You will need to decide what kind of divorce you want to pursue (uncontested or contested) and if you want to go through a collaborative process or litigation.
Once you decide, you’ll need to prepare and file forms at the local courthouse. The exact forms you file will depend on whether or not children are involved. At a minimum, you’ll file:
- Family Law Case Information Sheet
- Petition for Divorce (No Children)
- Summons with Orders
- Affidavit of Service with Orders
- Vital Statistics Form
If you have children, you’ll also file:
- Petition for Divorce (With Children)
- Affidavit Verifying Income
- Shared or Split Custody Worksheet or Standard Custody Worksheet
- Parenting Plan
- Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce.
After you file paperwork, you must officially notify your spouse of your intention to divorce them by serving them a complete proof of service.
After the court receives proof that service has been completed, your case is opened, and you can move forward with either trying to settle your issues or prepare for litigation.
To ensure an equitable division of assets, you’ll need to exchange financial disclosure information, listing your assets, debts, expenses, income and other pertinent financial information.
If you can’t reach an agreement and present a settlement to the court, then you will go to trial, where a judge will hear evidence and testimony, and then rule on all of your divorce-related issues.
Can I File for Divorce Online in Idaho?
Not exactly. You can get help completing your divorce forms by using an online service or working via email with an attorney.
If this path interests you, I encourage you to try 3 Step Divorce.
3 Step Divorce checks all the boxes that make an online divorce worthwhile.
They aim to make it easy – and they certainly deliver.
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- $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
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- Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
- Library of free tools and resources
- Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
- Immediate access to completed forms
- Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)
3 Step Divorce also boasts the highest customer rating in the industry (4.6 stars based on 1,575 reviews).
You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.
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But when it comes time to actually file divorce forms and paperwork, you can’t do it online. You must do so in person with your local district court clerk and pay your filing fees.
Can I Mail Divorce Papers in Idaho?
If you and your spouse agree, you can complete proof of service in Idaho by mailing the complaint and summons to your spouse’s residence. Your spouse must complete an Acceptance of Service and return it to you so that you can file it with the court.
Can I Refuse or Contest a Divorce in Idaho?
If somebody wants to divorce you in Idaho, also without the fault of either party, you can’t stop them.
You are free to contest any part of the divorce that you want, but this will create delays and cost you money in attorney’s fees.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Idaho?
Because every divorce is different, it’s impossible to say with complete accuracy how long a divorce will take in Idaho. There are some general guidelines, though.
If you can reach an agreement on all issues with your spouse (including the custody of children, child support, and spousal support) ahead of filing, then you can proceed with an uncontested divorce. You have to wait a minimum of 20 days after filing paperwork, but barring any unforeseen issues, you could be divorced in 30 days or so.
When you have to go through mediation or other types of negotiated divorce, expect the process to take several months. There will be a lot of back and forth between you, your attorney and the other side. The amount of cooperation between all parties will determine how long it will take, but 6 to 12 months is not uncommon.
In a contentious divorce, when you go through litigation, you will rack up a lot of legal bills, and your divorce case could extend out to two years or more in some cases, depending on the complexity of your situation.
What is the Waiting Period to Get a Divorce in Idaho?
Idaho has one of the shortest residency requirements in the nation when it comes to divorce. You only need to have lived in the state for six weeks before you can file a divorce complaint.
However, the actual amount of time will depend on the availability of judges and the court’s backlog where your case will be adjudicated.
Can I Expedite my Divorce in Idaho?
To a certain degree, yes. The best way to do this is to work with your spouse to agree on all issues before you file. When you can resolve issues like a division of assets, child custody, child support and alimony, and other key issues, you will save time, money and stress by presenting a proposed settlement to the court.
Also, make sure you provide all requested information, meet all of your court dates and other obligations to minimize the length of time it will take.
What is the Cost of a Divorce in Idaho?
Filing a divorce in Idaho costs $137.
If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can request a waiver by completing a Fee Waiver Form and submitting it with your paperwork.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Idaho?
No. You are not required to retain an attorney to get a divorce in Idaho. Many people are able to complete the process on their own, especially in uncontested, no-fault cases, even if they’re the filing spouse.
By working out details with your spouse, you can save time and the costs related to retaining an attorney.
However, if you have unresolved issues, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to protect your interests. While it will cost you a bit out of pocket, you could be making an even bigger financial mistake by representing yourself in your divorce case.
How Do I Stop or Cancel a Divorce in Idaho?
If you are the defendant, you can’t cancel a divorce. If you are the petitioner, you can file a motion for dismissal, effectively ending your court case.
If you have gone through the legal process and your divorce has been finalized, then you have no recourse. You cannot reverse a divorce at that point.
What is a Contested Divorce?
In Idaho, a contested divorce means that you and your spouse are contesting one or more of the issues related to your divorce. Often, this will be about child custody, alimony, spousal support or how assets are divided, but it could be about anything related to your case.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all the issues so that your divorce can move forward as quickly as possible.
With an uncontested divorce in Idaho, you’ll save time and money, and may not even need to retain the services of an attorney to help you with your case.
What is a Divorce Decree in Idaho?
A decree of divorce is the court’s final order granting you a divorce. At the end of your case, the judge will sign the decree, and you will be officially single again.
A decree provides detailed rights and responsibilities of each party, including child custody, child support guidelines, a parenting plan, alimony, a division of assets, and related issues.
It is a legal and enforceable document, and if either spouse does not comply with the rulings in the decree, they can be taken to court by the other spouse to enforce compliance.
What is Proof of Divorce in Idaho?
The Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics issues copies of important official documents such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates.
Proof of divorce document has a lot less detail than a divorce decree, only showing that two people have divorced, and when and where the divorce took place. This certificate is often used when either party wants to get remarried or legally change their name.
Only the individual named on the certificate, immediate family members, their legal representative, or those who can provide documentation showing it is needed for their property right may order legally confidential certificates.
Online orders are processed through VitalChek. You’ll need to provide some personally identifying information and a credit card to process the order. It takes about 4-5 to process the request.
Requests for certified copies can be mailed directly to the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records.
The request must contain a completed Certificate Request Form (or write a letter containing all the necessary information) and a photocopy of your current driver’s license that shows your signature, or other acceptable identification. You’ll also need a signed check or money order, for the certificate fee, made out to Idaho Vital Records.
Mail these three items to:
Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics
PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0036
What is a Bifurcated Divorce in Idaho?
A bifurcated divorce means dividing different aspects of a divorce into two separate cases.
When a couple can decide on several of the issues, the judge may allow specific issues to be settled immediately while others are worked out at a later date.
Some people may seek a bifurcated divorce because they want to get married again immediately, or you may have business partners who don’t want your community property tied up for any longer than is necessary.
Rather than delay the entire divorce, a couple is legally divorced, but the court retains jurisdiction over the couple to work out the remaining issues.
What is a No-fault Divorce in Idaho?
A no-fault divorce in Idaho means that you are filing under the assumption that your marriage is irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences.
You do not need to provide details of those differences, only that there is no way to repair your marriage.
A no-fault divorce simplifies the process, and that is often why people choose this format when filing.
How Does Infidelity Affect Divorce in Idaho?
Adultery is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce in Idaho. In order to be used as grounds for divorce, the adultery must have taken place within two years of filing for divorce.
You must be able to prove in court that adultery took place. You can do it by submitting evidence such as photos, phone records, witness testimony, private investigator reports, credit card receipts, and other types of similar information.
Once you prove adultery, it may give you a negotiating advantage in areas such as alimony, child custody and support, and how your marital assets are divided.
Adultery does not impact any alimony or child support amounts that are part of a divorce. It does not affect a division of financial resources, community property, marital assets, or child custody issues.
Changing Your Name
As you prepare your divorce forms, you will be able to choose to either restore your former name or request a court order for changing names.
Name changes are granted as part of your divorce. You may either receive a separate court order making your name change official, or have your name change recorded on the final divorce decree. Both of these documents are accepted by all US organizations and agencies as evidence of your name change.
Having a court order does not mean that your name change has taken effect yet. You need to contact all of your organizations to request that your records are updated.
It’s time-consuming to contact each company and figure out what to send where, so we recommend using an Easy Name Change kit to cut out the 10+ hours of research and paperwork that follows.
Read More: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Changing My Last Name
Recommended Divorce Resources
Many divorce resources make big claims that they’re the best or that they can do it all. We’ve tested a bunch of them, and most don’t meet our expectations.
We’ve put together a list of the best resources that we know will help you have a better divorce, and we’re excited to share it with you!
If you’re looking for recommendations in any of the following areas, we’ve got you covered:
- Online divorce
- QDRO preparation to divide retirement plans and pensions
- Masterclass on ninja tricks to negotiating with a narcissist
- Co-parenting apps
- Online dating
- Personal finance and budgeting apps
- Best place to sell your engagement ring
- And a whole lot more