File for Divorce in Bennington County, Vermont (VT) | Divorce in Bennington County

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Online Divorce in Bennington County

divorce in Bennington County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Bennington County, Vermont, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.

Who wouldn’t want a quick and easy divorce? And you and your spouse can have it in Bennington County if you agree to have no contest over the divorce-related issues, such as division of property and debts and custody, visitation, and support if you have minor children together. This type of divorce is referred to as an uncontested divorce, and the divorce proceedings are faster and simpler than in contested cases of divorce that go to trial.

If you and your spouse agree to have an uncontested divorce and don’t have valuable property (or you managed to split your marital property amicably), Do-It-Yourself Divorce may be an option for you to avoid paying sky-high legal fees for legal representation in court. Use a document preparation service and apply for a divorce without any hassles. OnlineDivorce.com provides divorcing couples in Bennington County with instructions and assistance in completing and filing divorce papers without a lawyer.

To ensure that you get a correct set of state-specific court forms, complete a short questionnaire on the website. Then receive your printable forms and step-by-step filing instructions. As soon as you file the paperwork, your divorce process is underway.

In this short guide, we gathered succinct information on all divorce-related issues and steps you need to take to start a DIY divorce. Using OnlineDivorce.com will help you save time, money, and effort by getting all the information and divorce laws you need in one place. Filing for an uncontested divorce in Bennington County with OnlineDivorce.com is an inexpensive and simple way to end one chapter of your life if both parties agree.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Bennington County

Vermont flag

Vermont recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. The no-fault ground of “living apart from your spouse for six consecutive months” is the most widely used in uncontested divorces.

If a couple wants to pursue a divorce based on fault, Vermont allows the following grounds:

  • (1) adultery by either party;
  • (2) either party is sentenced to imprisonment for three years or more;
  • (3) intolerable severity in either party;
  • (4) willful desertion or when either party has been absent and not heard of for seven years;
  • (5) refusal by either spouse to provide suitable maintenance while being able to do so;
  • (6) permanent incapacity due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability of either spouse (See V.S.A. Title 15 § 551).

If you’re contemplating a fault-based ground for divorce, keep in mind that the court demands substantial evidence of a spouse’s fault in marriage. Pursuing this line of divorce proceedings will require you to hire legal counsel and take your divorce case to trial.

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Custody of the child in Bennington County

Custody of the child in Bennington County

According to V.S.A. Title 15 § 665, Vermont courts allow divorcing parents to decide where their children will live and how they will share childcare responsibilities as long as the parents keep the child’s best interests as their priority. If the parents contest child custody or submit terms of custody that go against the child’s best interests, the court steps in and determines custody at its discretion.

The court and the parents must determine physical custody (where the child resides), legal custody (who makes child-related decisions), and how the non-custodial parents arrange their parenting time and visitation schedules. According to V.S.A. Title 15 § 665, the court shall consider the relationship of the child with each parent and each parent’s ability and willingness to meet the child’s emotional needs with love and affection and everyday needs, such as food, shelter, childcare, medical care, etc. It is also important whether each parent encourages the child’s contact with the other parent and can cooperate with the other parent concerning their parental duties and the child’s well-being.

Vermont custody courts take into consideration the child’s wishes and how cooperative each parent is. However, the court shall not give preference to one parent over the other due to the sex of the parent or child.

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Rules for child support in Bennington County

Child support is a monthly payment that the non-custodial parent pays to the child’s custodial parent to cover childcare expenses. Vermont child support guidelines use the Income Share Method and custody split to calculate child support. If the child has extraordinary expenses, such as any significant medical bills or college tuition, etc., the amount of basic child support can be adjusted and modified.

V.S.A. Title 15 § 657 Shared or split physical custody regulates how custody split affects each parent’s child support. If the child lives with one parent for 25% but not more than 30% of a calendar year, the shared cost table is used to determine each parent’s respective share of child support. When the child lives with each parent more than 30% or more of a calendar year, each parent starts to pay more in child support to reflect the additional costs of maintaining two households.

When filing for a divorce in Vermont, each parent submits a Child Support Worksheet with their income, taxes, and other financial information. The court uses that information to calculate child support and include deviation factors. If a parent experiences changes in their income or employment, the court modifies annual child support orders, respectively.

Failure to pay child support will result in the involvement of the Office of Child Support (OCS). The OCS has the right to collect and enforce child support payments from non-custodial parents using several methods. For more information on the work of the OCS in Vermont, visit their website.

Child support is paid until the child reaches 18 years of age, graduates from high school, marries, loses a disability status, or dies.

Calculate your child support in Vermont here.

Rules for spousal support in Bennington County

Rules for spousal support in Bennington County

Bennington County recognizes the right of either spouse to motion for spousal support or maintenance if they lack sufficient funds or skills to earn a living after the divorce. V.S.A. Title 15 § 752 specifies that payments can be either rehabilitative (to give the financially dependent spouse time and means to train and find a job) or long term in nature (relates to long-term marriages where one spouse was a homemaker for many years).

To determine the fact and the amount of maintenance in Bennington County, the court shall consider:

  • the living standard of the couple in the marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the financial resources;
  • the age and health of each spouse;
  • custody split and parental duties of each spouse;
  • the time and expense necessary to obtain sufficient education or training and find appropriate employment for the financially dependent spouse;
  • and retirement benefits and a share of property division for each spouse.

Depending on the circumstances of each couple, the court decides at its discretion what type of maintenance to award. Long-term spousal support is reserved mostly for lengthy marriages where one spouse was a homemaker or has significant needs. Furthermore, spousal support is closely linked to child custody and property division. Short-term maintenance is determined for the requesting spouse who needs some time to gain training or the necessary skills to get employed and earn a living. And temporary maintenance is awarded for the period of the divorce proceeding.

The court will recognize a prenuptial agreement waiving rights to alimony in Bennington County. However, a court typically considers it on a case-by-case basis and is entitled to prohibit alimony waivers at its discretion, depending on the divorce case’s particularities.
Failure to pay maintenance will result in alimony arrears and enforcement through court orders or wage garnishment.

Mind that spousal support in Bennington County is taxed as income. In Vermont, the recipient of maintenance pays income tax, while the payor of maintenance deducts the amount from their taxes. However, make sure you meet all the IRS guidelines and pay maintenance in cash designated strictly for alimony while living in separate households.

Estimate your monthly spousal support payment in Vermont using an alimony calculator.

Uncontested Bennington County divorce with children

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Property division in Bennington County

Property division in Bennington County

If the spouses cannot divide their marital assets on their own, the court steps in. As an equitable distribution state, Vermont distributes the marital property between the spouses in an equitable fashion, not necessarily equally. To do so, the court considers each spouse’s contribution to the marital property and the future needs and circumstances of both parties.

Following the provisions of V.S.A. Title 15 § 751, the Vermont Family Court shall consider each spouse’s age, health, earning capacity, income, the value of all property interests, liabilities, needs, and custody status. Vermont courts also consider each spouse’s non-monetary contributions (babysitting, homemaking, and childcare) and contributions to the other spouse’s education, training, and earning power.

A prenuptial agreement between the spouses with property dividing clauses has a binding effect and is instrumental in a divorce. A correctly made prenup determines property division in Vermont and helps the spouses settle the divorce-related matters very quickly.

If you and your spouse have retirement benefits and 401k plans, they are considered marital assets and are subject to property division in Vermont. To make sure that pensions and retirement plans are distributed fairly, and you don’t lose any value, consult a pension valuator or another financial specialist to help you determine the value of each spouse’s pension correctly.

As for the division of debts, usually, each spouse pays off their own debts. Loans and debts on credit cards are individual debts of the spouse. Joint debts, however, must be divided. If you and your spouse struggle to split your debts fairly, consult an attorney or a certified divorce financial analyst.

Mediation support in Bennington County

Vermont does not mandate divorcing couples to have mediation. However, mediation is an affordable option for divorcing couples to use to settle contested issues. You may want an uncontested divorce but are having trouble agreeing on one aspect. It does not necessarily mean that your divorce is now qualified as a contested one and goes to trial. Use mediation and resolve all the disputed matters quicker and cheaper than on your own. Besides, divorcing spouses often report greater satisfaction with using mediation rather than having the court settle contested issues for them.

How to file for divorce in Bennington County | Step-by-Step

1

Meet the residency requirements. Vermont requires either spouse to have lived in the state for at least six months before filing for a divorce and at least one year before finalizing the divorce at a final hearing (See V.S.A. Title 15 § 592). Meet the residency requirements

2

Get ready for filing. Completing divorce forms takes some time. Obtain the forms and complete them in the comfort of your home. If you and your spouse have minor children together, there are different forms for couples with children. Bennington County allows cooperative couples to file a stipulated divorce at a lower price. In this case, you file all the divorce papers at once together with your spouse.
Make two copies of all forms and sign in front of a notary. Get ready for filing

3

File the court forms. Divorce cases are filed in the county where either you or your spouse lives. Bring all the completed forms to a local courthouse and pay a filing fee of $295. Request a fee waiver from the court’s clerk if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee. The court’s clerk files your divorce papers and stamps the copies. One copy is for you to serve on your spouse. File the court forms

4

Serve the spouse. To make this step easier in an uncontested divorce, the respondent can sign an Acceptance of Service form, and thus the serving process through third parties is unnecessary. In this case, the petitioner hand-delivers the divorce papers to the spouse and then files an Acceptance of Service with the court.
If for some reasons, it’s impossible to do, there are several process service options, such as (1) sheriff’s service; (2) certified mail; (3) first-class mail; (4) service by publication (if the spouse is missing or cannot be located). The last method of serving is also used for a default divorce. Serve the spouse

5

Respecting the timeline in Bennington County. The defendant has 21 days to file a response with the court, starting from the date the divorce papers were served on them. The defendant can request more time to file a response by filing a motion and giving a reason (for example, can’t solicit legal counsel sooner than three weeks).
Use that time to file all the rest of the paperwork with the court. Respecting the timeline in Bennington County

6

Attend a hearing. In Bennington County, a divorce settlement agreement is referred to as a stipulation. As soon as the parties have reached an agreement on all divorce-related issues and signed a Final Stipulation, the court schedules a final hearing. But not earlier than six months after the divorce case was filed with the court.
At the hearing, the judge makes sure the spouses meet the residency requirements and the 6-month separation period, reviews the documents, and makes sure the spouses agree with the divorce terms. If everything is in order, the judge signs a divorce order, and the spouses sign an Acceptance of Service-Family Division. 90 days after the judge signs the final order, the divorce is finalized. Attend a hearing

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Contested Divorce

Hourly Billing - Driving the Average Cost of Divorce to $15,000+

Contested divorces can be lengthy and costly due to spouses being unable to agree on one or more key issues, including child custody, property division, or spousal support.

  • Offline and inconvenient process in which both parties often hire attorneys to represent their interests.
  • The adversarial nature of a contested divorce can lead to heightened emotional stress and strain for both spouses and their families.
  • Absent a settlement, the final divorce judgment and terms are determined by the court, which may not fully align with the preferences of either spouse.
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Fast, affordable, and simple process using our fully-guided divorce questionnaire and filing service.

  • Online process to be completed at your own pace, can get documents as quickly as same day.
  • Receive ready-to-file forms specific to your jurisdiction and situation.
  • Easy online access for both spouses, free revisions for 30 days, and the ability to save your data longer term. Experienced customer support via chat and phone.
  • Ancillary services to ensure optimal outcomes, including name changes, co-parenting support, and getting started with your life after divorce.
  • Detailed instructions on how to file with the court or the option to purchase our filing service.

Filing fees for divorce in Bennington County

In Bennington County, Civil Division fees for filing a divorce case is $295. There are also some additional court fees, such as claim and motion fees and copy and certificate fees.

In Bennington County, divorcing spouses can pay less in filing fees if (1) they settle all their divorce-related issues and file for a stipulated divorce; or if (2) either spouse qualifies as a low-income individual and submits an Application to Waive Filing Fees and Service Costs.

How long will it take?

In Bennington County, the length of the divorce process normally includes a six-month separation before filing for a divorce and serving your spouse and the six-month parenting period before granting a divorce. However, the six-month separation period and the six-month parenting period can run at the same time.

As soon as the stipulation agreement is submitted, the judge signs the final order, but the divorce is final only 90 days after that signature. Thus, it is rare for divorce in Bennington County to be over in less than a year.

Filing for divorce in Bennington County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in Bennington County?
In Bennington County, the cost of divorce will range from the filing fees (roughly $300-$350) to thousands of dollars, if divorcing spouses cannot agree on some issues. Each contested issue requires an expert to help settle issues. If you cannot afford legal representation in court, you can seek free consultation provided by legal aid in each state. You can draft a stipulation by yourself and get an attorney to review it, paying an hourly fee.
Mediation is a more affordable option as it is less expensive and more informal than hiring a lawyer or having the court decide for you. Furthermore, if you and your spouse cannot agree on the division of property and debts, you will need a financial advisor or property appraiser. The bottom line is that the price tag for your divorce largely depends on the number of disputed issues and individual experts used.

How to file for divorce in Bennington County without a lawyer?
Vermont accepts divorce cases filed pro se by the petitioner without a lawyer. All you need to do is fill out divorce forms and file them with the court. You may have questions while completing the divorce papers. OnlineDivorce.com guides you through the paperwork preparation process and detailed filing instructions. Besides, each county has a self-help center to assist pro se petitioners.
If you and your spouse have trouble agreeing on all or any of the terms of your divorce, you can always use mediation and respective experts for each contested issue.

What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Bennington County?
Your divorce case may need more forms, but the most common court forms used in an uncontested divorce in Vermont are as follows:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Summons
  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Notice of Appearance
  • Confidential Information Sheet
  • Financial Income Affidavit
  • Financial Affidavit of Property and Assets
  • Health Department Vermont Record of Divorce or Annulment
  • For Couples with children, mandatory filing will include:
  • Affidavit of Child Custody
  • Child Support Order form, and
  • Agreement on Parental Rights and Responsibilities, Parent Child Contact, and Provisions Relating to Children.

Can I file for legal separation in Bennington County, Vermont?
Yes, Vermont allows legal separation for married couples. The filing procedure for legal separation in Bennington County is identical to filing a divorce.

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
In Bennington County, divorced spouses cannot remarry right away after the judge signs a final order because of a three-month ‘nisi’ period. Vermont has a ‘nisi’ period of 90 days before the divorce is final. The spouses can ask the judge to waive the waiting period, yet former spouses cannot remarry until the nisi period is over.

Divorce in Bennington County online

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  • We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
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  • We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.

Divorce Courts in Bennington County, Vermont

Bennington Family Division
Judge Name:
Honorable David Howard, Presiding Judge
Court Address:
200 Veterans Memorial Drive, Bennington, Vermont 5201
Phone:
802-447-2727