Divorce Faqs

Divorce is never easy, even under the best of circumstances, therefore if you are contemplating divorce in the state of Idaho, it is wise to understand all the facets of the divorce process. Below are some of the most-often asked questions regarding divorce in the state of Idaho:

The plaintiff (the spouse who files the initial paperwork) must have resided in the state of Idaho for at least six weeks prior to filing. This is a considerably shorter amount of time than most states require (usually at least six months residency).

While most states have gone exclusively to no-fault divorces in which a spouse must only claim irreconcilable differences, Idaho allows both no-fault and fault divorce. If you choose to file for a divorce based on fault, these are the “faults” allowed by the state of Idaho:

  • A felony conviction
  • More than a year of habitual drunkenness
  • Extreme physical or mental cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Willful neglect (can only be claimed by a woman, and is defined as a husband who failed to provide his wife with the basic necessities of life because of his refusal to work or overall laziness for at least one year)
  • Desertion (one spouse lived apart from the other for a year or more with the intent of leaving the marriage)

From the time you initiate divorce proceedings and the paperwork is served to the defendant, there is a mandatory waiting period of 20 days.

As in other states, spousal support is determined in the state of Idaho based on a number of factors. While the divorce is in the process, the judge may order one spouse to pay spousal support until the final divorce decree is in place. The court will consider the financial resources of both spouses, how much time it might take the spouse seeking support to acquire the education and training to find employment, the age and physical and mental condition of both spouses, and the duration of the marriage. If fault was claimed in the divorce, this could have an effect on the award of spousal support.

Idaho is a community property state, meaning the couple’s marital assets will be split equally, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. Many of the same factors used to determine spousal support will be considered if one spouse is asking for any thing other than a 50/50 split. (marriage length, the job skills, employability, liabilities, income, occupation, health and age of each spouse, the specific needs of each spouse, retirement benefits of each spouse, and the current and future earning capacity of each spouse).

Generally speaking, the assets a spouse had prior to the marriage remain their sole and separate property unless those assets are commingled during the marriage. As an example, if your aunt leaves you a beach house prior to your marriage, then theoretically, that house remains your sole property. However, if, during your marriage you added your spouse’s name to the title, then the house changes to marital property, subject to an equal split during a divorce. If the house remained in your name only, but marital funds were used to make improvements over the years, and/or the house was used for the benefit of both spouses, the situation becomes much murkier, and probably at least a portion of the house will be considered a marital asset.

Custody is dependent primarily on the best interests of the children. If the parents cannot come to a mutually-agreed-upon custody arrangement, then the courts will make that decision for them, based on a number of factors. Parents could split legal custody, meaning both parents would make the major decisions in the children’s lives, such as educational decisions, religious decisions and health decisions. Physical custody refers to where the children actually live, and could be split between the parents, or one parent could have primary physical custody, while the other would have visitation.

The determination of which parent will pay child support is based on a number of factors, including the gross monthly income of each parent as well as the expenses of each parent. The parent with primary physical custody is usually the parent who receives child support, but this is not always the case.

If you have decided to divorce your spouse in the state of Idaho, it could benefit you to speak to a knowledgeable Idaho divorce attorney to determine your best course of action and ensure your rights are fully protected.