Vermont Divorce Laws

Before you file for divorce in Vermont, you should take the time to learn a little more about the laws surrounding the process. This will ensure that you make the best possible decision for your family.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

The first step in the divorce process is determining if you meet the residency requirements to file in the state. The state’s divorce laws allow divorce to be filed if either party has lived in the state for six or more months. However, divorce will not be decreed unless one of the parties has lived in the state for a full year prior to the final hearing.

Vermont allows for no-fault divorce if the couple has lived apart for a period of six consecutive months and the courts find that there is little hope for a resumption of marital relations. Fault reasons for divorce in Vermont include:

  • Adultery in either party
  • Prison term for three years or more
  • Intolerable severity in either party
  • Willful desertion for a period of seven years
  • Refusal or neglect to provide maintenance for the other spouse when the individual has the financial resources to do so
  • Incurable insanity

Those who are members of the military can file for divorce in Vermont, even if their permanent residency is elsewhere, provided they have met the state’s residency requirements during their assignment. That said, they must file in accordance with all military family laws, which may require the help of an attorney.

Division of Property

Vermont is an equitable distribution state, so property in a divorce is divided based on what is fair. If the couple cannot come to an agreement about dividing their property, then the courts will look at the following:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of the parties
  • Occupation and source of income for the parties
  • Vocational skills and employability
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the training and increased earning power of the other
  • Value of all property interests
  • Whether there is any maintenance payments
  • Opportunity to acquire assets or income in the future
  • Desire to award the family home to the custodial parent
  • The party through whom the property was acquired
  • Contribution of spouses to the acquisition, depreciation, appreciation, or preservation of property, including the homemaker’s contribution
  • Respective merits of each party

Child Custody

When determining the child custody arrangement, the courts will try to make a determination based on what is in the child’s best interests. They will consider many factors, including:

  • The relationship with the child and each parent, including the parent’s abilities to provide love, affection, and guidance
  • The ability of each parent to insure that the child receives enough food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs
  • The parents abilities to provide for the child’s present and future developmental needs
  • The child’s adjustment to housing, school, and community
  • The ability and desire of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Quality of the child’s relationship with his or her primary care provider
  • Relationship of the child with any other person who has a significant impact on the child’s best interests
  • Ability and disposition of the parents to communicate, cooperate, and make joint decisions about the child.
  • Any evidence of abuse


If a case warrants spousal support from one spouse to another, the following factors will be considered:

  • Financial resources of the parties
  • Child support payments
  • Time and expense to acquire education for appropriate employment
  • Standard of living established in the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • Age, physical, and emotional condition of each spouse
  • Ability of the spouse paying support to meet his or her needs while covering the support amount
  • Inflation and cost of living expenses

When child support is needed, the amount will be based on the Income Shares Model. This divides the support needs proportionately with each parent’s income, with the non-custodial parent paying the custodial parent his or her amount.