Filing for Divorce in Idaho

Filing for Divorce in Idaho

1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Idaho?

You must be a resident of the state for at least six weeks before you file for divorce.

2. Does Idaho have a waiting period?

Yes, the court will not hold a hearing on your grounds for divorce or grant you a divorce for at least 20 days after you file. During this time, the court may require you to meet with a counselor to see whether reconciliation might be possible.

After you have established your grounds for divorce, the court may put everything on hold for another 90 days if you have minor children and the court thinks you should try to get back together.

3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?

Yes. In Idaho, a divorce may be granted for any of the following causes:

  • Your spouse committed adultery (had an affair).
  • Your spouse is guilty of extreme cruelty, whether that’s physical injury or mental suffering.
  • Your spouse has been separated from you for more than a year with the intention of deserting you.
  • If you are a woman, your spouse has not provided you with the basic necessities of life because of laziness or wastefulness for more than a year.
  • Your spouse is habitually drunk and has been for more than a year.
  • Your spouse has been convicted of a felony.
  • Your spouse is permanently insane, meaning he or she has been in a mental institution for at least three years, and the court finds he or she is incurable.

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You may file for divorce because of irreconcilable differences, meaning there are major reasons why you should not stay married. You also may file for divorce if you and your spouse have lived apart for at least five years. Your divorce will be denied if the court finds that you and your spouse planned to commit one of the above acts in order to get a divorce.

If adultery is your grounds for divorce, you have to take action within two years of the act or your discovery of the act. If you are filing for divorce because your spouse has been convicted of a felony, you must do so before your spouse has been pardoned, or before he or she has been out of prison for a year or more. The court may look for other unreasonable lapses of time between when the action occurred and when you file for divorce.

4. How does Idaho determine the division of property?

You and your spouse are encouraged to come up with a settlement on your own and present it to the court. If you can’t agree, the court will divide your property for you.

Any property that you or your spouse owned before you were married or any property that you acquired after you were married by gift or inheritance is your own separate property and is left out of the division of property. Anything that you acquired after your marriage by using the proceeds of your separate property also is your separate property.

All other property is community property. Any income, such as rent, that you or your spouse earns from either separate or community property becomes community property unless otherwise specified in an agreement. Property given to one of you by the other is separate property, but any income from that property is community property.

The court will divide your community property in whatever way it determines is fair and equal, taking into account these factors:

  • How long you were married.
  • Your prenuptial agreement, if you have one.
  • You and your spouse’s ages, health, occupations, and your amounts and sources of income.
  • You and your spouse’s skills, employability and debts.
  • You and your spouse’s needs whether alimony (maintenance) will be awarded.
  • You and your spouse’s current and future earning potential.
  • You and your spouse’s retirement benefits, including Social Security, civil service, military and railroad retirement benefits.

If your home is community property, it may be awarded to either you or your spouse, or the court may order you to sell it and divide the proceeds.

5. Does Idaho require mediation before a divorce is granted?

Mediation is not required, though the court may order it in your case if you and your spouse cannot resolve a disagreement over child custody or support.

6. How does the state determine child custody?

Legal custody and physical custody are two different things. Legal custody outlines how involved each parent is in the major decisions of a child’s life — where a child goes to school, what faith he or she is raised in and other biggies.Physical custody addresses where a child will live and with whom. Visitation is then negotiated based your physical custody arrangement.

The court’s primary goal is whatever is in your child’s best interest. It generally assumes that an arrangement that will allow your child frequent and ongoing contact with both you and your spouse is in your child’s best interest, unless there is evidence otherwise —” one of you has habitually committed domestic violence, for instance.

To determine just what is in your child’s best interest, the court will consider these factors:

  • You and your spouse’s wishes.
  • Your child’s wishes.
  • Your child’s relationship with you and your spouse and his or her siblings.
  • Your child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community.
  • The character and circumstances of everyone involved.
  • Your child’s need for continuity and stability.
  • Any evidence of domestic violence.

If you or your spouse has a disability, you may show the court evidence of how any equipment or services you use will help you to carry out your parenting responsibilities.

If your child is already living with his or her grandparent in a stable situation, the court may consider that grandparent equally when deciding custody. The court also may specify visitation rights for grandparents or great-grandparents if that seems to be in your child’s best interest.

7. How does the state calculate child support?

The court may order you or your spouse to pay child support based on a standardized set of state guidelines. The amount is determined using your gross income as calculated by the court’s rules. The amount may be modified to take into account transportation costs, work-related child-care costs, health insurance premiums and health care costs not covered by insurance.

Your arrangements for physical custody of your child also will come into play if your child splits his or her time between your homes, for instance, that would result in a different support amount than if your child lives in one home most of the time.

In determining whether the amount from the state guidelines is fair, the court will consider these factors:

  • Your child’s financial resources.
  • You and your spouse’s financial resources, needs and obligations.
  • Your child’s standard of living while you were married.
  • Your child’s physical and emotional condition, and his or her educational needs.
  • The availability of medical coverage for your child at a reasonable cost.
  • The tax benefits to the parent who claims your child on taxes.

8. How does the state determine and calculate alimony?

Alimony, also known as maintenance, is not a given in a divorce. The court may award alimony to you or your spouse if you don’t have adequate property to meet your reasonable needs, and you cannot support yourself with a job.

If the court decides alimony is appropriate, it will consider these factors to decide how much should be awarded and for how long:

  • Your financial resources, including any property awarded to you, and your ability to meet your needs independently.
  • How long it would take you to get the education or training necessary to get a job.
  • How long you were married.
  • Your age and your physical and emotional condition.
  • The ability of your spouse to support him – or herself while paying alimony.
  • How you and your spouse’s tax situations will be affected.
  • Whether you or your spouse is at fault in the divorce.

9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Idaho?

No, you are free to remarry after the court delivers the final judgment ending your marriage.


Find Idaho’s state statutes here.

Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare offers its child-support services online here.

Child support guidelines can be found on the web here.

Please note: Local and state laws change constantly, therefore this information is for educational purposes only. We do our best to keep state-specific information up-to-date, but please contact us to discuss your unique situation.

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