Grounds For Divorce in Vermont: Understanding the Options

Making the decision to get a divorce is never easy for a couple. It means breaking the once unbreakable bond they shared. However, there are times when couples realize that living together is no longer viable, and they mutually decide to legally separate. In the state of Vermont, there are multiple grounds for divorce, and it is crucial to comprehend the available options.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

In Vermont, the most frequent choice for couples who wish to end their marriage without blaming each other is a no-fault divorce. While some states require couples to prove their spouse’s wrongdoing, Vermont does not burden partners with such obligations. In a no-fault divorce, couples simply state "irreconcilable differences," indicating that their marriage is beyond repair.

Opting for a no-fault divorce allows couples to avoid lengthy court procedures and tedious legal requirements. This simplifies the process, helping them prevent unnecessary hostility, save time, and, most importantly, save money.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

In Vermont, fault-based divorce is pursued when one partner has committed a severe violation that breaches the marriage contract. VT law recognizes various fault-based reasons, including adultery, extreme cruelty, imprisonment of a spouse, abandonment, and intolerable conduct.

While filing for a fault-based divorce may seem emotionally satisfying, it can be more expensive and time-consuming than a no-fault divorce. Couples engaged in fault-based proceedings may be required to present extensive testimonies, evidence, and even expert witnesses, further complicating matters.

Separation "Without Cohabitation" Grounds

Another option available to couples seeking a divorce in Vermont is separation. However, couples must meet specific requirements to utilize this option. Under Vermont law, couples must live separately for six months without cohabitation, or, if they have minor children, one year of separate living is necessary.

Separation is an ideal choice for couples who may not be prepared for a long-term divorce or simply need some time to sort things out. During this period, couples live apart but remain legally married.


Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, involving both legal procedures and personal feelings. Understanding the various options for divorcing in Vermont is vital for couples to make informed decisions that lead to a more amicable and manageable divorce. Seeking legal counsel and advice is crucial for determining which options are most suitable for their unique circumstances.

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