Idaho Divorce 101 – Idaho Divorce Laws

Divorce Attorney In Idaho

Idaho Divorce Laws

The following questions provide general information about Idaho divorce laws and the divorce process in Idaho. This information is provided for general advice only. Do not substitute it for actual legal advice. Legal advice varies according to specific facts and circumstances. Therefore, you should never substitute reading an attorney’s website for talking to a licensed attorney about your specific information. Keep reading to get information on how to get a simple divorce in Idaho.

How do I get divorced in Idaho?

It is easier to get divorced in Idaho than in some other states. The divorce process in Idaho is pretty simple compared to some other states. The Idaho divorce waiting period is minimal, the residency requirement is only six weeks, and the court fee of $207 is cheaper than about half the states in the country.

How do I start the divorce process in Idaho?

The process to get divorced in Idaho starts with one party filing a petition for divorce. The person filing the divorce petition is the petitioner. The other party is the respondent. There is no advantage to being the petitioner or respondent in an Idaho divorce proceeding.

The petition should file the petition at the county courthouse. Ask a lawyer if you need help determining which county is appropriate. In addition, a family case law worksheet and a summons need to be included with every petition for an Idaho divorce. The clerk will also attach a joint preliminary injunction to each petition. If you have minor children, the court will also include an order to attend a focus on the children class. Contact us if you have questions about an Idaho divorce and you have minor children.

How long do I have to live in Idaho before I can file for divorce?

The petitioner, the person filing for divorce in Idaho must reside in the state for at least six weeks before filing a petition for divorce. If the other party, the respondent, does not live in Idaho, you should consult an attorney to determine if Idaho is the best place to file for divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

In Idaho, divorce can take as long as 21 days to two years. The duration of the divorce process depends on several factors. For an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all major issues, the divorce process may typically take around 30 to 60 days in most counties and 60 to 90 days in Ada County from the date of hiring Taylor Law & Mediation PLLC to the finalization of the divorce decree. However, the timeline can be considerably longer if the divorce is contested and involves disputes over matters such as property division, child custody, and alimony. Other factors that can influence the duration include the court’s caseload, the completeness and accuracy of the paperwork, and any mandatory waiting periods imposed by the state, which in Idaho is only 21 days. Keep in mind that each divorce case is unique so that the timeline can vary based on individual circumstances.

Does Idaho have a waiting period to get divorced?

The waiting period to get divorced in Idaho is 21 days. The 21-day period starts when the respondent is served with the petition for Idaho divorce (or accepts service). This includes weekends and holidays. As a result, if the 21st day falls on a weekend or holiday, the next day, the court is open will conclude the waiting period. This is as quick as you can get divorced.

Can I change my last name back to my maiden name during a divorce? / Do I have to change my last name?

During a divorce, the wife (or either party who changed their last name) has the option to change her name back to her maiden name during an Idaho divorce. To do so, it must be included in the decree of divorce. However, there is no requirement for the wife to change her last name. There are several reasons why someone might not want to change their name. Some people wish to have the same last name as their children. Some people might not want to change their name after several decades. Regardless, it’s pretty much up to the wife what she wants to do and there isn’t a lot that the husband (or other party) can do about if they wish to keep their married name after the Idaho divorce. 

Does it matter who files for divorce in Idaho?

There is no legal significance as to which party files a Petition for Divorce first. There is no significant advantage for being the first to file as the other party, the respondent, will have the opportunity to respond to the petition and file their own counterclaim, if desired. 

What are the grounds for divorce in Idaho?

  • There are several grounds for divorce in Idaho. While there are many reasons to get divorced, most reasons fall into the categories below.

    • Adultery
    • Extreme cruelty
    • Willful desertion
    • Willful neglect
    • Habitual intemperance
    • Conviction of a felony
    • Either spouse becoming permanently insane
    • Separation without cohabitation for five years
    • Irreconcilable differences exists between the parties

Is Idaho a no-fault divorce state?

Idaho is both an at-fault and a no-fault divorce state. The court can find a party at fault during a divorce proceeding. However, the court can also grant a divorce without finding either party at fault. This is the most common course of action in Idaho. People generally think of irreconcilable differences as a “no-fault divorce.”

What does “irreconcilable differences” mean?

Idaho statute defines irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences are those grounds determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.

Does fault matter in an Idaho divorce?

Fault doesn’t matter in the majority of cases. The court can grant a divorce without finding either party is at fault. As a result, there aren’t many reasons why a judge would want to listen to parties fight with each other over fault. The judge can find irreconcilable differences exist between the parties and grant the divorce without finding fault. However, there are some cases when fault does matter.

When does fault matter in a divorce?

Fault matters the most when one party is seeking spousal support. Spousal support is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony. Spousal support isn’t very common in Idaho. (And is declining across the country). However, it’s most often appropriate when a party lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and he or she is unable to support themselves through employment. If these conditions exist, the court must consider several factors. The fault of either party is one of those factors. If all of the other factors suggest ordering spousal support and one party is clearly at fault, then the court is more likely to grant their request.

How many divorces in Idaho are no-fault divorces?

Almost all of them. Idaho granted 6,674 divorces in 2017. Courts granted 6,586 of them on the grounds of irreconcilable differences that year. That’s 98.68 percent of all divorces. Furthermore, courts only granted 24 divorces on the grounds of adultery. Extreme cruelty accounted for nine divorces. In addition, fraud accounted for 33. This means that almost 99 percent of all divorces are no-fault divorces in Idaho.

What is a joint preliminary injunction in a divorce case?

The court clerk will automatically attach a joint preliminary injunction to every petition for divorce in Idaho. Simply put, this document prohibits parties from getting rid of, or hiding, community property; from harassing or assaulting each other; and from taking any minor children out of the state without written permission. It’s automatic. It doesn’t mean that the other party asked the court to implement it or that the court has reason to suspect you might do any of these things. It also applies equally to both parties.

Do I have to give my spouse a copy of the petition for Idaho divorce?

Once the petition is filed, it must be served to the respondent. The respondent, or their attorney, can also choose to accept service. In some cases, service by publication may be necessary. It can be time-consuming and expensive if you can’t find your spouse before starting the process.

What happens after my spouse is served?

Your spouse will have a couple of different options. They could agree with the petition and enter into an agreement to dissolve the marriage. They also have the option to file an answer and/or counterclaim. An answer basically says, “This is what I agree and disagree with from your petition.” They can also file a counterclaim. A counterclaim says, “I read what you wanted; this is what I want.” Finally, you can file an answer to the counterclaim telling the court what you agree/disagree with from their counterclaim. Not surprisingly, most people typically agree to the things that they originally asked for in their petition and disagree with everything else.

Next, the parties will have 35 days to send each other some basic discovery information. This includes things such as income, assets, debt, property documents, etc. Furthermore, parties can later ask for additional information.

At any point, the parties can attempt to reach an agreement themselves or through their attorneys, mediation or some other alternative dispute resolution effort. This can go on forever until parties either reach an agreement, run out of money or ask a judge to step in and make decisions for them.

Once the parties reach an agreement, they can enter a stipulation for entry of decree, which tells the court the parties are in agreement and asks the judge to enter that agreement on the record. The decree of divorce includes the terms of those agreements and is the document the judge must sign to grant you a divorce. The decree is the most important document in the entire process. It doesn’t matter what the petition or counterclaim says. It only matters what the decree of Idaho divorce says.

What issues are resolved in a divorce?

Issues to resolve in a divorce typically include child custody and child support for parties with minor children; property and debt distribution;  and restore the wife to her maiden name if she chooses. However, divorce will resolve all remaining issues between the parties.

Does Idaho have a residency requirement to get divorced?

The party filing for divorce must reside in Idaho for six weeks prior to filing the petition for divorce. This typically means that the party must reside in Idaho for six weeks and does not require the party have a driver’s licenses or other document to establish residency in Idaho.

Do you have to be separated before divorce?

No. Idaho does not require parties to be formally separated for any
period of time before filing for divorce. Some couples may have moved
out of their residences into their own places, got new partners and
started new lives before filing for divorce two years later. This is
typical when the parties decide not to “worry about getting divorced at
this time” and then worry about it once someone wants to marry someone
else. Some couples may do the opposite, stay living in the same house up
until the divorce is filed and shortly after while one or both parties
look for a new place to live as the dissolve their marriage.

Do you have to have a lawyer to get a simple divorce?

No. You do not have to have a lawyer to get a divorce in Idaho. However,
it’s highly recommended at least one party, if not both parties, have an
attorney to help navigate the divorce process. Not only can an attorney
help complete all of the required paperwork correctly, they also know
how to file it correctly and are likely to have a full understanding all
the issues that must be addressed during the divorce process. However,
there is no requirement to have an attorney to get divorced in Idaho.

Do you have to go to court for a simple divorce?

No. In Idaho, it is not necessary to go to court to obtain a divorce. If
the parties reach an agreement and present that agreement to the court
through a stipulation, their assigned judge can sign the stipulation and
decree of divorce without holding a hearing or requiring the parties to
appear in court. Once the stipulation is signed, if the judge has
questions, their clerk will call an attorney to schedule a hearing if
necessary. This is rare if attorneys present the court all of the
required information in the stipulation and the parties are not asking
the judge to do anything too unusual.

Do you have to go to court to get child support?

No. You do not have to go to court in Idaho to establish child support
if the parties can reach an agreement on child support payments and
likely, child custody. Those these two are separate issues, child
support calculations take into account the parties’ parenting schedule,
so it may not be possible to reach an agreement regarding child support
until the parties either reach an agreement on child custody or this
issue is resolved by the court.

Attorney Robert J. Taylor is an experienced divorce attorney in Boise, Idaho. He runs Taylor Law & Mediation PLLC, a firm offering uncontested divorces, military divorce, child custody, child support, child support modification & child custody modification, among others.

Have more questions about Idaho Divorce Laws and how to get a simple divorce? Contact us today!


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