Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Idaho Divorce Laws



Residency Requirements for Divorce in Idaho
The spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of Idaho for 6 full weeks immediately prior to filing for divorce. The divorce should be filed in: (1) the county where the defendant resides or (2) if the defendant is not a resident of Idaho, the county where the plaintiff resides or designates in the complaint.
[Idaho Code; Title 5, Chapter 404 and Title 32, Chapter 701].

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Idaho

  1. No Fault Divorce:
    1. Irreconcilable differences
    2. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of 5 years
    [Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 603 and 610].
  2. General Divorce:
    1. Adultery
    2. Permanent insanity
    3. Conviction of a felony
    4. Willful desertion
    5. Extreme cruelty
    6. Willful neglect
    7. Habitual intemperance (drunkenness)
    [Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 603 to 610].

Legal Separation in Idaho
There is no legal provision in Idaho for legal court-ordered separation. However, the spouses may live separate and apart.
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapter 610].

Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in Idaho
Divorces may be granted upon the default of the defendant. In addition, marital settlement agreements are specifically authorized. They must be in writing and notarized in the same manner as deeds. If the marital settlement agreement has any provisions which concern real estate, it must be recorded in the county recorder's office.
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 917 and 918].

Divorce Mediation or Counseling Requirements
There is a mandatory 20-day delay in the granting of all divorces, unless there is an agreement by the spouses. During this period, either spouse may request that there be a meeting held to determine if there is any practical chance for reconciliation. If there is determined to be a chance for reconciliation and there are minor children of the marriage, the court may delay the proceedings for up to 90 days for an attempt at reconciliation.
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapter 716].

Divorce Property Distribution
Idaho is a "community property" state. Each spouse's separate property consists of:

  1. all property acquired prior to the marriage
  2. property acquired by gift either before or during the marriage
  3. property acquired by individual gift before or during the marriage
The court will divide all other property (the community property) of the spouses in a substantially equal manner, unless there are compelling reasons to provide otherwise. The court will consider the following factors:
  1. Any marital misconduct
  2. The length of the marriage
  3. The age and health of the spouses
  4. The occupation of the spouses
  5. The amount and sources of income of the spouses
  6. The vocational skills of the spouses
  7. The employability of the spouses
  8. Any premarital agreement
  9. The present and potential earning capability of each spouse
  10. Any retirement benefits, including social security, civil service, military and railroad retirement benefits
  11. The liabilities of the spouses
  12. The needs of the spouses
  13. Whether the property award is instead of or in addition to maintenance
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 712 and 903 to 919].

Alimony and Spousal Support
The court may award maintenance to a spouse, if that spouse:

  1. Lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs
  2. Is unable to support himself or herself through employment
The award of maintenance is based on the following factors:
  1. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support
  4. The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to such spouse and such spouse's ability to meet his or her needs independently
  5. The tax consequences to each spouse
  6. The age of the spouses
  7. the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses
  8. The fault of either party
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapter 705].

Spouse's Name After Divorce
There is no legal provision in Idaho for restoration of a spouse's name upon divorce. However, there is a general statutory provision that allows a person to apply for a name change by petition to the court.
[Idaho Code; Title 7, Chapter 801-4].

Child Custody After Divorce
Joint or sole child custody may be awarded according to the best interests of the child, and based on the following factors:

  1. The preference of the child
  2. The wishes of the parents
  3. The character and circumstances of all individuals involved
  4. The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members
  5. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  6. A need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child
  7. Domestic violence, whether or not in the presence of the child
Joint custody is allowed if it can be arranged to assure the child with frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Unless shown otherwise, it is presumed that joint custody is in the best interests of the child.
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 717 and 717B and Title 39, Chapter 6303].

Child Support After Divorce
The court may order either or both parents to provide child support until the child is 18, without regard to marital misconduct, and based upon the following factors:

  1. The financial resources of the child
  2. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved
  3. the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child
  4. the financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent (normally, not including the parent's community property share of the financial resources or obligations with a new spouse)
  5. The availability of reasonable medical insurance coverage for the child
  6. The actual tax benefits achieved by the parent claiming the federal dependency exemption for income tax purposes
There are provisions in Idaho for child support payments to be paid to the clerk of the court unless otherwise ordered by the court. There are specific child support guidelines adopted by the Idaho Supreme Court which are presumed to be correct unless evidence is presented that shows that the award would be inappropriate or unjust. Finally, all child support orders issued in Idaho must contain provisions allowing enforcement of the order by income withholding.
[Idaho Code; Title 32, Chapters 706, 706A, and 1201+].


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