What Is The Process Of Filing For Divorce In Vermont?
First, the procedural stuff. There is a summons, and then a complaint. These have to be served on the other party and filed with the Vermont family court, along with a fee. The summons essentially says that you’re being sued for divorce and you must provide an answer to the allegations in the complaint within a certain period of time. The complaint states, among other things, background information, such as the parties’ names, where they live, how long they lived in Vermont, whether they have any (minor) children together, and a basic outline of the couple’s debts and assets. And, of course, requests that the person, “be relieved of the bonds of matrimony” from the Vermont family court. Sometimes a motion for a temporary order is filed along with the summons and complaint to initiate the divorce proceedings. This asks the court to perform a little triage. While matters may take a while to be finally settled between the parties or by order of the family court, circumstances sometimes require that one party be awarded temporary and exclusive possession of the marital home while the other party must find an apartment or some other accommodation, that debts and income be apportioned between the parties to make ends meet, that some sort of visitation and custody arrangement be configured for the minor children in the short-term, and so forth.
Once these things are served and filed, the family court issues an Interim Domestic Order. This is a boilerplate instruction by order of the court that essentially tells the parties, Okay, no funny business: no whisking the kids out-of-state, depriving the other party of visitation, no emptying bank accounts, selling off assets, incurring large debts, no canceling insurance, etc. It tells the parties to adhere to the status quo. Only routine and ordinary expenses are to be allowed, and contact between each party and the children should not be impeded.
What factors does the court consider in awarding custody, visitation, property, and debts?
Even if you are using an experienced Vermont attorney to help you navigate your divorce, you would be well advised to do a Google search of three statutes: 15 V.S.A. Sections 665, 751, and 752. The V.S.A. stands for Vermont Statutes Annotated. Those are the statutes that cover many of the things the court considers in awarding custody, property/debt allocation, and alimony (also known as spousal support).
In Vermont, custody is also referred to as parental rights and responsibilities, or P.R.R. There are two subcomponents to parental rights and responsibilities: Legal, having to do with decision authority on education, religion, legal, and medical, among other things; and Physical, having to do with whom the child primarily resides.
If you are currently facing a divorce, please contact experienced Vermont divorce attorney, Kevin Volz at 802.775.0700.