Video: Getting a divorce in Vermont — Steps 3 to 6
Go to descriptive transcript. Links in this video: Video: Getting a divorce in Vermont – Steps 1 and 2; Divorce Roadmap (this page); Your local family court; Legal Services Vermont.
There are a few different sets of forms to fill out for your divorce case, depending on your situation. We tell you about the forms in this step.
Complete the forms on a computer and print them out. Or use a paper copy and fill them out with a pen. Either way, make three copies when you are done: for yourself, for the court, and for your spouse.
Using a notary and the COVID-19 emergency
Normally, some of these forms need to be signed in front of a notary. But during the COVID-19 emergency, if you cannot see a notary in person, you can use a Supplemental Affirmation form instead. This is a way to swear that your statements are true, even if you can't see a notary in person.
Start by filling out these forms
Everyone starting a divorce case must complete these five forms:
- A Notice of Appearance. This form tells the court that you are representing yourself and how the court and your spouse can contact you about the case.
- The family court Information Sheet. The Information Sheet gives the court information about you and your spouse. If you are starting the divorce case, you are the “Plaintiff.” Your spouse is the “Defendant.”
- Use the form to fill out the contact information for you and the Defendant. On this form, check the box if you receive public assistance such as Medicaid, Dr. Dynasaur (health insurance help for children), 3SquaresVT (food stamps), or other programs from the State of Vermont. Check the box if the Office of Child Support is helping you with your case. Also write down if there are any other court cases involving you, your children, or the Defendant.
- The Vermont Department of Health Record of Divorce or Annulment form or Record of Civil Union Dissolution form. There are two versions of this form. One is for a divorce and one for dissolving a civil union. Get the right version for you. Enter the information about you and your spouse, as in the Information Sheet.
- Financial Affidavit Form 813A: Income and Expenses. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your four most recent paycheck stubs.
- Financial Affidavit Form 813B: Property and Assets. Use the information you gathered in Step 2 to fill out the two Financial Affidavits. These forms are long and complicated, so give yourself plenty of time to complete them and read the instructions carefully.
These forms are notarized, so don't sign them before you meet with a notary. The court clerk is a notary.
If you can’t afford the filing fee
If you can’t afford the filing fee, fill out the Application to Waive Filing Fees and Service Costs.
This form is notarized, so don’t sign it before you meet with a notary. The court clerk is a notary.
The court may let you know about the fee right away. They may also mail you a decision about the fee. The court should waive the fee if you get public assistance, or if you cannot afford the fee given your other expenses. Also, everyone whose income is less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level is eligible for a fee waiver. Contact us at Legal Services Vermont if the court denies your fee waiver and you want to appeal the decision. You have seven days to appeal.
Now fill out a Summons and Complaint
If you don’t have young children with your spouse
Don’t have children with your spouse? Or do you have children, but they are over 18 and out of high school? Fill out the Summons and Complaint for Divorce Without Children.
Use the form to tell the court about where you and the Defendant live and where you were married. The form also asks whether you or the Defendant get benefits from the State of Vermont, and whether there are other court cases involving you and the Defendant.
In the Requests for Relief section, tell the court what you would like it to decide. Things you can ask for include:
- spousal support (alimony)
- dividing up your property and debts
- court costs and attorney’s fees, and
- changing your name.
If you do have young children with your spouse
Do you have minor children with your spouse? Or, do you have a child who is over 18 but still in high school? Fill out the Summons and Complaint for Divorce with Children.
This form is like the Summons and Complaint for Divorce Without Children, but it also asks for information about your children and where they have lived for the past five years.
In the Requests for Relief section, you can ask the court to decide about child support, “parental rights and responsibilities” (custody) and “parent-child contact” (visitation) as well as all the things listed above.
If you both agree about the divorce, file forms together
Do you and your spouse agree about everything in your case (money, property, debts, and children if you have school-aged children together)? Then you can file together for a stipulated divorce by filling out the following additional forms. If you turn everything in, you will get a cheaper filing fee and a faster divorce.
You (the Plaintiff) must complete the same forms as above. But you will also include some other forms that your spouse (the Defendant) completes, as well as some forms that the two of you complete and sign together.
For your spouse to complete
Your spouse (the Defendant) must also complete these forms:
- Notice of Appearance
- Financial Affidavit Form 813A: Income and Expenses
- Financial Affidavit Form 813B: Property and Assets
- Acceptance of Service, and
- The Answer form, either with children or without children.
For you both to complete
Together, the two of you must sign and complete these forms to get a stipulated divorce:
- Final Divorce Stipulation
- Parenting Plan Stipulation — if you have school-aged children together
- Child Support Order — if you have school-aged children together. To complete this form, use the Office of Child Support’s calculator. The court will not grant a stipulated divorce with school-aged children without a child support order. You will have a hearing if you don’t complete this document.
- You can also fill out the Stipulation and Motion to Waive Final Hearing. This asks the court to grant the divorce without going to court for a hearing. The court may decide it needs to have a final hearing anyway even if you file this.
- You will have a final hearing if either of you had a final abuse prevention order (such as a Relief from Abuse order) against the other spouse.
- You may have a final hearing if you have children together, if only one of you has a lawyer, or if the court wants to make sure the agreement is voluntary and you both understand it.
If you and your spouse agreed on everything and you filled out all the paperwork for a stipulated divorce, you’re done. Wait for a response from the court.
Otherwise, continue to the next step: filing and serving the divorce papers.