Vermont Divorce Procedures

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Every couple takes wedding vows thinking that they will live life happily with each other. But this does not happen with all married couples. Sometimes human errors and circumstantial conditions compel many to forget those vows and break the marital bond. At such times, divorce seems to be the only option to sort out things so that spouses part ways and live their individual lives happily. But a divorce is no child's play. The desire of living life independently becomes true when a divorce is obtained in the right way. You may be filing for the case in any state; but you need to abide by the divorce laws and proceedings of that state surely. For example, when you are willing to get a divorce in Vermont, you must understand the pros and cons of Vermont divorce procedures.

In Vermont, the divorcing partner who files for divorce is named as the Plaintiff. The divorcing partner who is served is known as the Defendant. The divorce action is filed in the Family Court that lies in the county of residence. When the divorcing spouses wish to file for divorce in the absence of lawyers, the Family Courts offer the Pro Se Education Class for the spouses.

The petitioner will have to fill out certain forms like Cover Sheet, Confidential Sheet, Health Department Vermont Record of Divorce or Annulment, etc. Once you fill out the necessary forms, you will have to send these to the court along with a check that is payable to the Vermont Family Court. If you cannot afford the fees, you may request the Court to waive the fees.

Some basic information about important forms and methods of Service are elaborated here:

Forms required during Vermont Divorce Procedures

If a couple without children apply for an uncontested divorce, the following forms have to be filed:

  • Proposed Final Order: This is an add-on of the Separation Agreement
  • Final Divorce Stipulation
  • Affidavit of Income and Assets (Form 813): This document provides financial information regarding both the partners.
  • Affidavit of Military Service: It is an important document that certifies that the Defendant is not protected under the Service members Civil Relief Act.
  • Health Department Vermont Record of Divorce or Annulment: The purpose of this document is to maintain statistic records.
  • Complaint for Divorce, Summons and Notice of Appearance (Form 835)
  • Cover Sheet (Form 800): This form is used for identification of the spouses in the divorce action

If a couple with children apply for an uncontested divorce, all the above forms which are listed above as well as the following forms have to be filed:

  • Child Support Order, page 1 (Form 802)
  • Affidavit of Income and Assets: This is a 17 page form. The court utilizes this form to gain financial information for finalizing the child support payments.
  • Summons, Complaint for Divorce and an Affidavit of Child Custody (Form 836)

Methods of Service in Vermont Divorce Procedures

  • The Plaintiff delivers the Complaint, the Notice of Appearance and the Summons personally to the Defendant. This method is known as Acceptance of Service and it is very frequently used.
  • First Class Mail with Acknowledgment: The Defendant signs a Form 820 and returns it to the court in a prepared envelope.
  • Certified Mail: This involves a return receipt.
  • The Complaint and the Summons are served by the local constable or the Sheriff personally to the Defendant.
  • When the Defendant cannot or will not be traced, the method of Publication is used. The Plaintiff declares the divorce through a notice in a local newspaper for about 3 weeks. It is expected that the Defendant might come across this notice.
  • If the Defendant resides outside the state, any of the methods listed above can be used. Additionally, there is a signed affidavit of the person who delivers the papers regarding certification of the delivery.

Although, any of the above methods may be pursued, the green card from the Post Office, the Return of Service, the Acknowledgement of Service or the Acceptance of Service must be directed to the clerk of the family court by the Post Office, the Sheriff, the Defendant or the Plaintiff.

After reading the Summons, the Defendant understands that there are 20 days to provide an answer to the complaint. Along with the Answer, the Defendant possesses the right to file a Counterclaim. If a Defendant does not file an answer, the court awards the Plaintiff a default judgment.

It is to be noted that all the information given above are not legal advice; these are some general Vermont divorce procedures. You have to follow these basic steps and many others, which will relate to your case. Once you discuss all the important procedures that are needed in your case with your advocate, start preparing for the proceedings by arranging the required documents and legal papers.

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