How to File for Divorce In Idaho

REQUIREMENTS FOR DIVORCE IN IDAHO

  • In Idaho, you can file for either a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce.
  • To file for divorce in Idaho, you must have resided in the state for a minimum of 6 weeks. The residency requirement of Idaho is significantly shorter compared to the other US states.  
  • Once the divorce papers are served to your spouse, there is a waiting period of a minimum of 20 days before the final divorce judgment is entered.

IDAHO GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE

No-Fault Divorce

There is no need for you to get into the reasons for the failure of your marriage, in the case of a no-fault divorce. You just say that there are “irreconcilable differences” between your spouse and you and that you cannot get along.

Fault-Based Divorce

In a fault divorce, the grounds for divorce include:

  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Adultery.
  • Willful Neglect: As per the Idaho law, “willful neglect” is the failure of the husband to provide his spouse the common necessities of life for a minimum of 1 year due to refusal to work or laziness. So, if you are a woman, you can claim willful neglect or that your husband did not provide for you.
  • Willful Desertion: If your spouse has lived away from you for over a year with the intent of ending the marriage.
  • Felony conviction.
  • Habitual drunkenness for a period of more than 1 year.
  • Permanent Insanity: Your spouse was in a mental institution for a minimum of 3 years.

Idaho allows a spouse to file for a divorce if both partners have been living apart or separated for a minimum of 5 years.

HELPFUL TIPS!

  • Save Time & Money: To ease the process of filing out and understanding all divorce forms in Idaho, you can use an online divorce service like 3stepdivorce.com to have your paperwork completed within a few hours for $299 or break up the payments if your cash strapped.
  • Fee: If your filing for divorce, you must file the originals and copies of the documents at the courthouse, along with a filing fee of $137. If you are unable to afford the fee, then you must fill the fee waiver form. You must also complete the divorce certificate and submit it with the court clerk.
  • Lawyer Costs: If you plan to hire a divorce lawyer, your divorce could cost between $3,500 and $25,000, with the lawyer fees being around $8,800 on an average.
  • State Resource: Most of the family law forms for the state are available from the website of Idaho’s Judicial Branch.
    • You should use the forms specific to the particular district if you reside in the Fourth Judicial District that includes the counties of Boise, Ada, Valley and Elmore.

STEP 1:
INITIATING YOUR IDAHO DIVORCE

Filing out divorce papers cartoon imagePreparing the Documents

You must file the specific documents with the court irrespective of whether you’re handling your divorce on your own or you’re hiring a divorce attorney. You can download most of the forms necessary for the divorce from the Idaho Judicial Branch website.

 The person filing for divorce in Idaho is called the “petitioner” or “plaintiff” and the other spouse is referred to as the “defendant”.

If you don’t have any children, you need the following forms to file for divorce in Idaho:

  • Family Law Case Information Sheet: This identifies both spouses and the details of the case.
  • Complaint for Divorce (Without Children): This is for divorce without minor children and it identifies both spouses, the grounds for divorce and the relief that you are seeking.
  • Certificate of Divorce: This must be got from either the court clerk or from the court assistance office.
  • Affidavit of Service: Certifies that the defendant has been served with the divorce complaint and summons properly.
  • Summons: This is used for a divorce without minor children and informs the respondent that a divorce complaint has been filed and informs him/her of his/her rights.

You must file the following forms, in case you have children from your marriage:

  • Family Law Case Information Sheet: This identifies both spouses and the details of the case and it also provides details about the children and their residential history, especially where there is a child protection or child custody order.
  • Complaint for Divorce (With Children): This is for divorce with minor children and it identifies both spouses, the grounds for divorce and the relief that you are seeking.
  • Affidavit of Service: Certifies that the defendant has been served with the divorce complaint and summons properly.
  • Summons: This is used for a divorce with minor children and informs the defendant that a divorce complaint has been filed and informs him/her of his/her rights.
  • Affidavit to Verify Income
  • Standard Custody Worksheet or Shared/ Split Custody Worksheet
  • Parenting Plan: This gives the complete details of child custody and visitation.
  • Certificate of Divorce: This must be got from either the court clerk or from the court assistance office.

Filing Your Forms

Once the necessary documents are ready, you must file them with the clerk in your district court along with the filing fee. The clerk will retain the original forms. You will require a document copy for your records and the other must be served to your spouse.

STEP 2:
SERVING YOUR DIVORCE PAPERS

serving your spouse cartoon imageThe plaintiff must complete the “service of process” on the defendant. For this, you must provide your spouse the copies of the divorce complaint and all the other documents which you have submitted with the court clerk while filing for divorce.

Ideally, personal service i.e. delivering the documents personally to the defendant is the preferred way of service. You can also hire a professional process server who will deliver the documents on your behalf.

Once the documents have been delivered, an affidavit of service will be sent to you by the process server that contains the name and address of the defendant and also the address where the documents were delivered. This must be filed with the court as proof that you have served the documents properly.

If you are unable to locate your spouse, then you can serve the papers by publishing the divorce complaint notification in the local newspaper. This should be done for a period of 4 weeks continuously. Once the documents have been delivered or you have published the notice in the newspaper, the spouse who has been served has 20 days within which he/she must file a response to the divorce complaint.

STEP 3:
UNCONTESTED OR CONTESTED IDAHO DIVORCE?

Contested Divorce (Spouses Disagree)Contested divorce cartoon image

A contested divorce is when your spouse and you are unable to come to an agreement on any of the issues like:

  • Division and distribution of marital property and debts
  • Alimony
  • Child custody, child visitation and where the children will live
  • Child support, medical expenses, health and dental insurance for the children
  • Grounds for your divorce or
  • Any other issues or disputes related to your marriage

In the case of a contested divorce, you will have to go to court, where all the issues regarding your divorce will be presented to the judge who will take decisions on the various issues. Both your spouse and you need to hire a lawyer to represent your case in court, provide witnesses, offer resolutions for various issues so that your interests are protected.

Uncontested Divorce (Spouse Agree)uncontested divorce cartoon icon

In Idaho, there are 2 types of uncontested divorces – divorce by stipulation and divorce by default. Irrespective of whether you have children from the marriage or not, both types of divorce options are available.

Divorce by Default

In this type of divorce, the petitioner files the divorce complaint and serves the other spouse; however, the respondent has not filed a response within 20 days i.e. the respondent has defaulted and loses his/her right to be heard because they have not responded within the required time period. If it is over 20 days, then you can finalize the divorce without any response from the respondent.

Divorce by Stipulation

In this type of divorce, both parties mutually agree on all the terms of the divorce and are ready to request the judge to finalize the divorce. This type of divorce is faster and cheaper and there is no need for your case to go to court before a judge.

You will be eligible for a divorce in Idaho only if you satisfy the residency requirements and you should be residing in Idaho for a minimum of 6 weeks before you file for a divorce. Apart from this, you also need to give the court a reason or “grounds” for the divorce.

In a default divorce, the grounds for the divorce does not matter; however, in the case of a divorce by stipulation, your spouse and you must be in agreement about the reason why your marriage has ended. And, the most common reason used is “irreconcilable differences” which have caused the marriage to break down irretrievably and it cannot be saved.

STEP 4:
DIY OR HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

DIY Divorce Papers (Slower & Least Costly)

diy divorce icon image

If your spouse and you agree on all the terms of the divorce and your divorce is uncontested, then you can process the divorce on your own without hiring a divorce attorney.

And because you are handling all the aspects of the divorce on your own, a DIY divorce is cheaper and quicker. Simply go to your local states government website or local court website and download the needed forms. 

Online Divorce Services (Fastest & Inexpensive)

online divorce service icon image

If you want to handle your divorce by yourself, but do not really know how to go about filling in the necessary documents needed to file for a divorce and at the same time, you do not want to hire a divorce lawyer, a good option would be to use an online divorce service. Our favorite online divorce service is 3stepdivorce.com and you can get started at $84.

The online service will help you by asking questions and then filling out the forms for you or they will give you step-by-step instructions on how to fill the documents. When your papers are ready, you can simply take a print out of the documents and file them with the county court clerk along with the filing fee.  

Divorce With an Attorney (Long & Expensive)hire an divorce attorney icon image

If your spouse and you are unable to agree on one or more of the issues of your divorce, then your case will go to trial and will be heard by a judge in court. In the case of a divorce trial, it is in your best interests to employ the services of a divorce lawyer who will present your case in the court, all the evidence, testimony and arguments.

A divorce trial can be quite expensive as you will incur the attorney fees, which can be quite high and usually take a long time.

STEP 5:
FIGURING OUT THE MAJOR ISSUES

Idaho Property Divisionproperty distribution law icon image

Usually, the community property and the homestead are such that there is an equal division in the value while considering the debts. The factors that will affect the property division include:

  • Length of the marriage.
  • Age, occupation, health, vocational skills, liabilities, employability and source and amount of income of each of the spouses.
  • Needs of each of the spouses.
  • Any antenuptial agreement of the spouses that the court does not have any authority to rescind or amend the agreement.
  • Earning capacity of both spouses – both present, as well as potential.
  • Retirement benefits including civil service, social security, railroad and military retirement benefits.

Idaho Spousal Supportalimony spousal support image icon

If the spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance does not have sufficient property in order to provide for his/her needs and is not able to support himself/herself via employment, then the court may grant maintenance. The amount and period of time for the maintenance depends on what the court feels is just after evaluating various factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage.
  • Financial resource of the spouse who is seeking maintenance including the marital property that has been allocated to the particular spouse and the ability of the spouse to meet his/her needs.
  • Time required for the spouse to get appropriate education and training that will help him/her find employment.
  • Age, emotional and physical condition of the spouse who is seeking maintenance.
  • Capability of the spouse who must pay maintenance to meet his/her needs while meeting the needs of the spouse who is seeking maintenance.
  • Tax obligations of both spouses.
  • Fault of each spouse.

Idaho Child Custody

While deciding the child custody, Idaho considers the best interest of the child and relevant factors such as:

  • Wishes of both parents regarding the custody.
  • Child’s wishes regarding his/her custodian.
  • Relationship and interaction of the child with his/her parents and siblings.
  • Adjustment of the child to his/her community, home and school.
  • Circumstances and character of all the people involved.
  • Any instances of domestic violence whether in the presence of the child or not.
  • Need to help to maintain stability and continuity in the child’s life.

Idaho Child Support

Until the child is 18 years old, the court may order one parent or both parents to bear the child support. In case the child continues high school education after he/she is 18 years old, then the court may order the parents to continue the child support payments until the child is 19 years old or discontinues high school, whichever occurs earlier.

STEP 6:
FINALIZING YOUR IDAHO DIVORCE

finalizing divorce image iconIf your spouse and you agree on all the terms of the divorce such as division of property, child custody, visitation time, child support and spousal support, then you can file a settlement agreement in the court before your divorce case goes to the hearing stage.

As per the Idaho law, you need to wait for a minimum of 20 days before the court grants you a final divorce. Your settlement agreement must cover all the issues that have been mentioned in the divorce complaint and also explain clearly how you plan to settle each of the items.

However, if your spouse and you are unable to reach an agreement on the various issues, then your case will go to trial, where all the issues will be decided for you by the judge.

Return to Divorce Laws Page

Author Details
A legal researcher by trade, Steffan serves as the Editor for all of eDivorce’s helpful guides and blog posts. He loves writing about the legal process in an effort to help reduce the complexities of the legal system. Learning from his own personal divorce, he enjoys sharing what has helped him, what didn’t, and how to move on with your life.
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A legal researcher by trade, Steffan serves as the Editor for all of eDivorce’s helpful guides and blog posts. He loves writing about the legal process in an effort to help reduce the complexities of the legal system. Learning from his own personal divorce, he enjoys sharing what has helped him, what didn’t, and how to move on with your life.
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