A Summary of Idaho Divorce Laws

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Grounds for Divorce Under Idaho Divorce Laws

Divorce Laws Specifically for the State of Idaho

Idaho will allow you to file for divorce on any of the following grounds:

  1. Adultery
  2. Extreme cruelty
  3. Desertion
  4. Neglect
  5. Habitual intemperance (i.e. greed)
  6. Conviction of a felony
  7. Permanent insanity
  8. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for 5 years.
  9. Irreconcilable differences

Residency Requirements/Where to File

Idaho divorce laws require that you’re a resident of the state for a minimum of six full weeks before filing for divorce in court. If the defendant (that is not the filing spouse) resides in the state, you should file in the county where he/she resides. Otherwise, you may file in the county where you reside if your spouse is no longer a resident.

Name of Court and Title of Action/Parties

An action for divorce in the State of Idaho is filed in District Court.  A Complaint for Divorce is the action that starts the process of your divorce. The court order that finalizes the divorce is called a Decree of Divorce. The Plaintiff is the person who files for divorce and  the Defendant is the one being served.

Waiting Period

Idaho divorce laws require a mandatory waiting period of twenty (20) days from the date of commencement of the action and service of process to the granting of the divorce.


When a divorce is granted, the court may award alimony to a spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and is unable to support him or herself through employment. The order granting alimony shall be in an amount and for a time period that the court deems just, after consideration of the following factors:

  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking support
  • The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find employment
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking support
  • The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the spouse seeking support
  • The tax consequences to each spouse
  • The fault of either party

Distribution of Property

In Idaho, the court will divide all of the community property between the two of you, unless there exists compelling reasons to divide the property otherwise. Some of the factors the court will examine in making a determination as to whether to divide the community property equally include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Any postnuptial agreement
  • The age, health, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability and liabilities of each spouse
  • The needs of each spouse
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Retirement benefits of each spouse
  • Any other relevant factor(s)

Child Custody

Child custody will be determined by the court based upon the best interests of the child. There is a presumption that joint custody is in the child’s best interests. The court will consider several factors when determining what is in the child’s best interest. Some of the factors they will consider include:

  • The wishes of the child’s parents
  • The wishes of the child
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the parents and siblings
  • The child’s adjustment to his/her home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health and integrity of all individuals concerned
  • The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child
  • Any instances of domestic violence

Each parent, unless otherwise stated by the court, shall have equal access to information pertaining to the child, such as medical, dental, health and school records.

Child Support

The court may order child support to be paid until the child’s eighteenth birthday. The following factors will be considered in determining the amount of child support to be paid:

  • The financial resources of the child
  • The financial resources of the parent
  • The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child and his or her educational needs
  • The availability of medical coverage for the child


During the mandatory waiting period of twenty days before granting a divorce, Idaho divorce laws allow the court to order, upon request of either party, require a conference of the parties to make a determination as to whether a reconciliation of the parties is attainable.

Grandparents’ Visitation

In any case where the child is actually residing with a grandparent in a stable relationship, that grandparent shall have standing for evaluating the custody arrangements of the child.

Photo Credit: Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn for Unsplash


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