Vermont Divorce Laws: An Overview

Divorce is never an easy process, but understanding the laws and regulations in your state can help. Vermont divorce laws can be complicated, but knowing the basics can make the process much less stressful. In this article, we will explore Vermont divorce laws and how they relate to alimony.

Grounds for Divorce

Before filing for divorce in Vermont, it’s important to understand the grounds for divorce. In Vermont, there are both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. The no-fault ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences. In order to file for divorce on this ground, the couple must have lived apart for at least six consecutive months. Fault grounds for divorce include adultery, imprisonment, willful desertion, and intolerable severity.

Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in Vermont, one or both spouses must have been a resident of Vermont for at least six months prior to filing. If either spouse is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Vermont, the residency requirement is waived.

Property Division

Vermont is an equitable distribution state, which means that property and assets acquired during the marriage are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Separate property, such as property acquired before the marriage or through inheritance, is not subject to division.

Alimony in Vermont

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment made from one spouse to the other to provide financial support after a divorce. In Vermont, alimony is not automatically awarded in every divorce case. The court will consider several factors when deciding whether to award alimony, and if so, the amount and duration of payments.

Factors Considered by Vermont Courts when Awarding Alimony

When deciding whether to award alimony, the court considers a variety of factors. These factors may include:

The Length of the Marriage

The length of the marriage is an important factor in determining alimony. Longer marriages generally result in higher alimony payments, as one spouse may have provided financial support to the other for a significant period of time.

Income and Earning Capacity

The court will also consider the income and earning potential of each spouse when awarding alimony. If one spouse has a significantly higher income or earning potential than the other, they may be required to pay higher alimony payments.

Contributions to the Marriage

The court will examine each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including their financial contributions, homemaking and child-rearing responsibilities, and other contributions such as supporting the other spouse’s education or career.

Standard of Living During Marriage

The court will also consider the standard of living during the marriage. If one spouse has significantly greater assets or income than the other, the court may award alimony to maintain a certain level of living standards for both parties.

Financial Need

Finally, the court will examine the financial need of the recipient spouse. If they are unable to support themselves financially after the divorce, the court may award alimony to provide financial support.

Types of Alimony in Vermont

In Vermont, there are three main types of alimony:

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help the recipient spouse become self-sufficient. This type of alimony is usually awarded for a specific period of time, during which the recipient spouse is expected to become financially independent.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is awarded when the court determines that one spouse will need financial support indefinitely. This type of alimony is usually awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse has significantly higher income or assets than the other.

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement alimony is awarded to compensate one spouse for financial contributions made during the marriage. This type of alimony is often awarded when one spouse supported the other through education or training that benefitted both parties.

Modifying Alimony in Vermont

In Vermont, either party can petition the court to modify or terminate alimony payments. To request a modification, the party seeking the change must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the initial alimony order.


Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, but understanding Vermont divorce laws and alimony can make the process less stressful. The court considers a variety of factors when deciding whether to award alimony and what type and amount to award. If you are considering divorce in Vermont, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process.

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