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Can’t Get Divorced Fast Enough? How Fast Can You Legally Get Divorced in Idaho?

Posted by Bradley V. Sneed | Feb 08, 2024

First off, Idaho law requires that a party filing for divorce must have resided in Idaho for six (6) consecutive weeks prior to filing for divorce.   Provided this initial legal requirement is met, the length of time it is going to take for a Court to enter a Judgment and Decree of Divorce after you file a Petition for Divorce, is going to depend on whether you and your spouse are in agreement about how to divide all of the community property and how to address the custody and support of your minor children (if applicable).  

Of course, these two broad issues (property and children) usually encompass many sub-issues, so it is not very common for parties to be in agreement on all terms.  However, if you and your spouse believe you are in agreement on all issues to be addressed in the decree, then a decree of divorce could be entered in as short of time as four to five (4-5) weeks after the case is filed. 

One hurdle to that time frame is that Idaho Code § 32-716 contains a 21-day waiting period for entry of a decree of divorce after a petition for divorce is filed and served.  While the language of the statute does not provide any discretion to a Court to waive this waiting period, I have had multiple cases where a judge ignored this waiting period and enter a stipulated judgment before the 21-day period expired.    

A second hurdle to a quick entry of a Decree of Divorce in a case involving minor children, is the court's requirement that both parties complete a Focus on Children class.   A Court will not enter a Decree of Divorce until both parties demonstrate to the Court that they each have completed the required class.   While these classes are available regularly, the availability of the class and/or the class you are assigned to, may delay entry of a Judgment and Decree of Divorce.  

If you believe you and your spouse are in agreement about all terms of property division and child custody/support, consider yourself lucky and contact Sneed Law, PLLC to assist you.  However, it is very important to understand that even if both parties are in complete harmony about how to proceed with their divorce, any single attorney or firm may only represent one party in the action.   No attorney or a single firm can represent both you and your spouse, i.e., provide advice to both parties in the divorce case.

In some circumstances, an attorney may agree to meet with both parties in an attempt to understand and/or finalize the terms of a stipulated divorce, but the attorney must be clear that he/she is only representing the spouse that has engaged his/her services.  If the unrepresented party has questions about the language or effect of the terms of the proposed stipulated Judgment and Decree of Divorce, such spouse must and will be advised to seek the advice of their own independent legal counsel.

In short, could your divorce be filed and fully resolved within one month?  Yes.  Is it likely? No.  In my experience, even when parties believe they “agree on everything,” chances are there is something they have not considered or one party will want to re-evaluate the agreement when it comes time to sign a binding stipulation.   

While contested and contentious divorce proceedings are more often the norm, Sneed Law, PLLC has represented many clients in successful stipulated divorces, which always makes the divorce process quicker, relatively painless, and most importantly, conserves the client's financial resources.

About the Author

Bradley V. Sneed

Brad represents clients in family law (divorce, child custody/support modifications, guardianships), employment disputes (employers and employees), construction disputes, and insurance coverage dispute litigation.  If you find yourself faced with the need for legal guidance in any of these fields, contact Brad so he can take all steps necessary to protect you.

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