Idaho Uncontested Divorce

This information is an overview of the uncontested Idaho divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Idaho.

To file for divorce in Idaho, one spouse must be a resident of the state for a full six weeks prior to filing the action. The divorce should be filed 1) in the county where the Defendant resides or 2) if he or she is not a resident of the state, in the county where the Plaintiff resides or designates in the complaint.

Grounds for divorce in Idaho are No Fault, which means 1) irreconcilable differences and 2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for five years. Fault grounds include 1) adultery, 2) permanent insanity, 3) conviction of felony, 4) willful desertion, 5) extreme cruelty, 6) willful neglect and habitual intemperance (drunkenness).

In divorce actions, the filing spouse is called the Plaintiff; the responding spouse, the Defendant. Actions are filed in the District Court of the county.

Couples who are in agreement about their divorce may be able to file an agreed divorce in some Idaho counties. Otherwise, couples file for divorce using forms that depend up whether or not they have minor children. Here are the forms that must be filed in the county clerk’s office:

> Complaint for Divorce, D 1-5 (for actions with minor children) or CA0 D 1-6 (no minor children), which identifies the parties, the grounds and the relief sought;

> Summons, FL 1-3 (with minor children) or CL 1-1 (no minor children), which puts the Respondent on notice that the action has been filed and informs him or her of his or her rights;

> Certificate of Divorce or Annulment, which must be obtained from the Court Clerk or the court Assistance Office;

> Family Law Case Information Sheet, FL 1-16, which identifies the parties and the particulars of the case.

Divorcing spouses with children must also do the following:

> File for an Order to Attend Divorce Orientation/Parenting Workshop;

> File a Child Support Affidavit, DCP 1-11, which spells out the particulars of child support;

> Complete a Child Support Worksheet, DCP 1-12 or 1-13, which spells out the calculations involved in the child support;

> File a Parenting Plan, DCMP 3, which spells out the terms and conditions of custody and visitation.

The Defendant must be properly served. This happens in one of the two following ways:

> When the Defendant cooperates, the Plaintiff mails or personally delivers to him or her a confirmed copy of the Complaint, Summons and an Acknowledgment of Service, which he or she signs in the presence of a Notary Public and returns to the Clerk of the Court. When this happens, the Defendant normally signs the Acknowledgment and Consent to Divorce, and the action moves uncontested.

> When the Defendant will not cooperate, a copy of the Summons, Complaint and an Affadavit of Service is mailed or delivered to a sheriff, professional process server or any other person 18 or older, who delivers the divorce papers to him or her. This person -- the sheriff, process server or private individual -- completes and Affidavit of Service, which become part of the record of the case.

When a party cannot or will not be located, the Plaintiff must file additional forms that include:

> An Affidavit and Motion for Service by Publication, Ci 1-7;

> An Order for Service, Ci 1-8;

> A Summons by Publication, D 1-2;

> An Affidavit of Mailing Per Order for Publication, Ci 2-5.

The Plaintiff must make a good faith ("diligent") search for the Defendant, which includes contacting his or her parents, friends, department of motor vehicles, voter registration, searches of city directories and telephone books, contacting agencies such as Social Security and the Veterans Administration. When these avenues have been exhausted fruitlessly, the Plaintiff may file the Affidavit and Motion for Service. The Summons must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks.

If a Defendant fails to respond to the divorce papers by filing an Answer, 20 days later a default judgment against him or her may be entered in favor of the Plaintiff. The mandatory 20-day waiting period between the time a spouse is served and the time a default judgment may be entered is from either 1) the date he or she signed the acknowledgment of service, 2) the date the process server delivered the divorce papers, 3) the last date the summons was published in the newspaper.

If the Defendant files an Answer and Counterclaim, the Plaintiff has 20 days from the date of the filing to respond. If the Plaintiff does not respond, the court may order a default against him or her and the Defendant may be awarded everything he or she asks for in the Answer and Counterclaim.

When the Defendant files an Answer and Counterclaim, he or she may be preparing for a contested divorce. If, however, the couple reach agreement, they can finalize the action by Sworn Stipulation for Enter of a Divorce.

If the Defendant fails to respond within the time limits, the Plaintiff files a Motion and Affidavit for Default.

Under certain conditions, a Plaintiff who cannot afford filing fees be exempted by filing:

> A Fee Waiver Affidavit;

> An Order Allowing Waiver of Filing Fee.

In divorces with or without children, the Family Law Case Information Sheet, Summons, Affidavit of Service, Acknowledgement of Service And Consent to Decree, Motion and Affidavit for a Default, Default, Certificate of Divorce are identical forms.