ROADMAP: How to Get a Divorce in Vermont

Get Organized and Talk to Your Spouse

Before you start working on the divorce paperwork, get organized. If possible, speak to your spouse and try to get agreement on some issues.

Get organized

You will need to gather a lot of information about your finances, the property you own, and your expenses. You will use this information in the next step to complete two Financial Affidavits.

Do your best to have up-to-date information on these things before you file for divorce:

  • bank accounts
  • vehicles
  • real estate
  • tax returns
  • retirement and investment accounts
  • health insurance (for you, your spouse, and your children)
  • life insurance
  • pensions
  • your income – including your four most recent pay stubs
  • your personal expenses
  • your business expenses, and
  • your debts.

Talk to your spouse

The process of getting a divorce in Vermont is easier, faster, and cheaper if you and your spouse agree. If you can reach an agreement that covers both your children (if you have children) and your finances, you can file a “stipulated divorce.”

  • Without an agreement on property and debts, the judge will have to divide your property based on what the judge thinks is fair. If you have an agreement, the two of you can decide how to divide your property.
  • Without an agreement on parental rights and responsibilities (custody for your children, the judge will have to pick one of you over the other. With an agreement, you can choose shared parental rights and responsibilities if that works best for the two of you and your family.

Even if you can only reach an agreement about some issues, this will save you and your spouse time and stress in court. See if you can come to agreement on these things:

  • Where will the children live and how often will they see each parent?
  • How will you make decisions about things like your children’s education and medical care?
  • Who keeps the house, car or pets?
  • Will one of you help to pay the other spouse’s living expenses?
  • Who will pay which bills?
  • How will you split up money in retirement or investment accounts?

Do you need help getting this conversation started? A mediator may be useful. The Vermont Judiciary can help you find a mediator who will get paid according to your income. Or you can ask the Vermont Bar Association for a referral to a mediator.

If it is not safe to meet or speak to your spouse, do not do so. If you need support because of abuse or potential abuse, get help with your divorce by contacting an advocate or Legal Services Vermont.

Updated: May 27, 2021