Vermont Divorce Laws When Married in Virginia

by Heather Frances J.D. Google
Residents can divorce in Vermont, no matter where they were married.

Residents can divorce in Vermont, no matter where they were married.

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In today’s mobile society, it’s not uncommon for spouses to marry in one state then move to another during the marriage. Regardless of whether you married in Virginia -- or any other state -- you can file for a divorce in Vermont and obtain a Vermont divorce decree, as long as you meet certain residency requirements.

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You can file for divorce in Vermont as soon as either you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months. However, Vermont courts cannot issue a divorce decree until you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least a year before the date of your final hearing. So, even if you file as soon as you are eligible to do so, you or your spouse must be a resident of Vermont for at least a year before the court can finalize the divorce. You will still meet Vermont's residency requirements even if you were temporarily out of the state because of illness, employment, service in the military or other valid reason so long as you otherwise maintained residency in the state. You must file your divorce in the county where you or your spouse lives.


Vermont offers several options for you to choose from as a reason, or grounds, for your divorce. To file a no-fault divorce in Vermont, you and your spouse must have been separated for six consecutive months and getting back together is not reasonably probable. You can also file on fault grounds, but you must prove that the grounds exist. Fault grounds include adultery, imprisonment for at least three years, incurable insanity or willful desertion.

Filing for Divorce

In Vermont, your divorce action begins when you file a complaint for divorce in your local court. You must include basic information about yourself, your spouse and your marriage, such as your address, full name, when you started living in Vermont and the actions you want the court to take. For example, if you want the court to award you alimony, you must request it in your complaint. After you file your complaint, you must serve it on your spouse to give him an opportunity to respond.

Property Settlement and Hearings

You and your spouse can reach your own property settlement agreement to divide your assets and debts or have the court do it. If the court divides your property, it uses several factors to reach a decision, including the length of your marriage and each spouse's source of income, age and health, property and debts, and individual needs. Vermont courts divide property equitably, but not necessarily equally. If you and your spouse do not contest any terms of your divorce, you still have to attend a final hearing before your divorce can be granted. However, the hearing is relatively short and simple since neither side has to present extensive evidence regarding custody, property division or child support.