Completing a Petition for Divorce

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In a previous post, we provided fallible PDF forms for you to file your own divorce with the courts, assuming you and your partner are in agreement and have no minor children between the two of you. In this post, we will provide instructions for completing a Petition for Divorce. You should talk to an attorney for advice prior to completing the petition and filing it with the court. We don’t recommend you substitute this post with actual legal advice.

Petition for Divorce in Idaho. No minor children.

You can find the steps to complete the petition for divorce here, on the state’s self-help site. Idaho is fortunate that our state has made as many forms as possible to the general public. The instructions below are based off the state-provided form with some general guidance.

Start the Petition for Divorce

Step 1: Obtain the Petition for Divorce template. You can find ours here.

Step 2: Complete the top half, which is the caption, with your name and contact information. You should know your county and can find what district your court is in here.

Step 3: Put your name in the Petitioner line and your spouse’s in the Respondent line.

Step 4: Leave the case number blank. The court’s clerk will complete this when you file it.

The Petition for Divorce

Paragraph 1: Residence of the parties

You must live in Idaho for six weeks before you can file the Petition for Divorce. If you do not meet this requirement, you may need to wait until you do or talk to an attorney for advice on how to proceed. Also include the state your spouse resides. If he or she does not reside in Idaho, you should also consider talking to an attorney to ensure Idaho is the proper court to handle your divorce case.

Paragraph 2: Marriage of the Parties

List where and when you were married .

Paragraph 3: Grounds for Divorce

This paragraph is complete, but talk to an attorney if you have reason to believe other grounds for divorce exist. If such grounds exist, you may not be able to complete your divorce without legal representation.

Paragraph 4: Minor Children.

Select the appropriate box indicating if Wife is pregnant or not.

Paragraph 5: Wife’s Child/ren Born, or Conceived During this Marriage

Do the same here.

Paragraph 6: Separate Property

Separate property is property that one party owned prior to the marriage or inherited or was gifted during the marriage. This property is not subject to distribution between the parties, but it is important to identify all of this property. You can use the attached Schedule if there is a lot of property to list. Not all couples have separate property.

Paragraph 7: Community Real Property

Community real property is land. There are generally three options for distributing real property at divorce: 1) the parties can share the property and split any proceeds from the sale; 2) Husband remains in the house and pays Wife for her share of the equity; and 3) Wife remains in the property and pays Husband for his share of the equity. There is generally a time limit such payments need to be made to the other party. Seek legal advice if one party does not have the ability to pay the other party for their share of a home’s equity at the time of divorce but wishes to remain in the property.

Paragraph 8: Community Personal Property

Personal property is what most people consider “stuff.” Select the box appropriate box and include everything that needs to be accounted for in the attached Schedule. Community property is anything acquired during the marriage that isn’t separate property. It makes no difference who paid for the items, whose name it is registered in, who purchased it, who decided to purchase it, etc. The courts will generally allow parties to divide items between themselves as they see fit, though such sharing should be fair and equitable.

Retirement accounts, pensions, etc. should also be accounted for in this paragraph.

Items should be described to the degree necessary to identify them between the parties. The largest community personal property most people have are cars. Things of large value, including a collection of items, should be accounted for as well as any items the parties might dispute the other party keeping. It’s easier if the parties have already split everything between themselves before filing, but that’s not always a possibility.

Paragraph 9: Debts

All debts must also be listed and distributed fair and equitable, similar to community property. Secured debt, debt tied to an object, is the easiest to distribute. Generally, the person who wishes to keep the item also keeps the debt. Sometimes a party may not be able to afford the item after the divorce. These items are normally sold to minimize the debt. The challenging debts are unsecured debt, such as credit cards or other loans not directly tied to a specific item of value. Again, an easy rule of thumb is the person keeping the item keeps the debt. But sometimes there might be general credit card debt or living expenses with nothing to show for the debt. This debt must also be accounted for between the parties.

Keep in mind that your divorce decree is an agreement between you and your spouse. Third-party creditors are not bound to follow it. A debtor can still come after you to collect a debt if there is an agreement between you and them to pay the debt. However, if your spouse is required to pay the debt under the terms of divorce and does not, you may have recourse against him or her, but not the original creditor.

Paragraph 10: Debts Incurred Since Separation

Write down the date you and your spouse separated. If you are still living together and have yet to select a separation date, use today’s date. Generally, this can be the date you and your spouse last lived together.

Paragraph 11: Name Change

This paragraph gives Wife the chance to change her name back to her former name without having to take any extra steps. In addition, this is entirely wife’s decision.

File the Petition for Divorce

Certify under penalty of perjury that the information on your form is true and correct.

Make two copies of all documents.

Next take the Petition, the Summons, and Family Case Law information to the clerk court to file. You will need to pay the $207 filing fee at that time.

More to Explore

TRICARE After Divorce

Can I keep TRICARE after I get divorced? In most situations, you will not be able to keep TRICARE health insurance coverage

Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney 

Divorce is often associated with feelings of failure, regret, and resentment. However, the end of a marriage doesn’t have to be filled