Divorce in Idaho: everything you need to know

1 min readLast updated March 20, 2024by Unbiased team

Learn more about the process of divorce in Idaho with this guide.


  • Idaho has both "fault" and "no-fault" based divorce.

  • The average cost of divorce in Idaho is around $11,000.

  • Idaho has a mandatory 21-day waiting period between the time your spouse was served and the time you finalize your divorce.

  • A financial advisor can help you navigate your finances during a divorce and rebuild afterward.

What are the different types of divorce in Idaho?

In Idaho, there are two main types of divorce: fault-based and no-fault.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.
  • A fault-based divorce is when one spouse blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage and proves that the other spouse committed a specific ground for divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, desertion, or felony conviction. A fault-based divorce may give the spouse who is not at fault an advantage in terms of alimony, property division, or custody, but it also requires more evidence, time, and money to prove the fault.

  • A no-fault divorce occurs when the spouses agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. It is usually faster, cheaper, and less contentious. Still, it also requires the spouses to agree on all the terms of their divorce, such as child support, spousal support, property division, and a parenting plan.

How much does a divorce cost in Idaho?

The cost of divorce in Idaho depends on several factors, such as:

  • The type of divorce

  • The complexity of the issues involved

  • The level of cooperation or conflict between the spouses

  • The need for professional services

  • The court fees and other expenses

According to a 2019 survey by Martindale-Nolo Research, the average cost of divorce in Idaho was $11,400, including $9,800 in attorneys’ fees.

However, the cost ranged from $4,500 to $21,000, depending on the circumstances of each case.

The survey also found that the average duration of divorce in Idaho was 10 months, but it varied from 5 to 18 months.

To reduce the cost and duration of divorce in Idaho, you and your spouse can try to:

  • Agree on as many issues as possible and file a joint petition or a stipulation

  • Use mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve your differences

  • Hire an attorney who is experienced, reputable, and affordable

  • Avoid unnecessary litigation or appeals

  • Be honest, cooperative, and respectful with each other and the court

What are the requirements to file for divorce in Idaho?

To file for divorce in Idaho, you or your spouse must meet the following requirements:

  • You or your spouse must be a resident of Idaho for at least six weeks before filing for divorce.

  • You or your spouse must file a petition for divorce in the district court of the county where you or your spouse live.

  • You or your spouse must pay the filing fee, which varies by county but is usually around $200.

  • You or your spouse must serve the other spouse with a copy of the petition and a summons, which notifies the other spouse of the divorce action and the deadline to respond.

  • You or your spouse must wait for at least 20 days after the service of the petition and summons before the court can grant a divorce decree unless the spouses agree to waive the waiting period.

How do you file for divorce in Idaho?

The process of filing for divorce in Idaho will differ depending on if your divorce is contested or uncontested.

Uncontested divorce

If you and your spouse agree on all the terms of your divorce, you can file a joint petition for divorce, which simplifies the process and eliminates the need for service and response.

You can also file a stipulation, a written agreement that outlines the terms of your divorce, such as child support, spousal support, property division, and a parenting plan.

The court will review your stipulation and incorporate it into the final divorce decree if it is fair and reasonable.

Contested divorce

If you and your spouse do not agree on all the terms of your divorce, it will be contested, which means that the court will have to decide the disputed issues for you.

This may involve a trial, in which you and your spouse present evidence and arguments to support your positions, and the judge makes the final decision.

A contested divorce is usually more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful than an uncontested divorce.

How do you split assets in a divorce in Idaho?

Idaho is a community property state, which means that all the property and debts that the spouses acquired during the marriage are considered to belong to both of them equally, regardless of who earned or spent them.

This includes income, bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, furniture, pensions, and credit card debts.

The only exceptions are property and debts that are considered to be separate property, such as:

  • Property and debts that the spouses owned before the marriage

  • Property and debts that the spouses inherited or received as gifts during the marriage

  • Property and debts that the spouses agreed to keep separate in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

  • Property and debts that are related to personal injury awards or settlements

In a divorce, the court divides the community property and debts between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner.

The court will also assign the separate property and debts to the spouse who owns them.

How does alimony work in Idaho?

Alimony is not automatic or mandatory in Idaho.

Still, the court may award it to one of the spouses if it finds that the spouse lacks sufficient income or resources to support themselves after the divorce.

The amount and duration of alimony depend on several factors, such as:

  • The financial situation of each spouse

  • The ability of the paying spouse to pay alimony

  • The ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age and health of each spouse

  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage

  • Any other relevant factors

The court may award alimony for a fixed period of time until the receiving spouse remarries or cohabits with another person or indefinitely, depending on the circumstances. The court may also modify or terminate alimony if there is a substantial change in the situation of either spouse.

What happens to children during a divorce in Idaho?

The court’s main concern in a divorce involving children is to protect their best interests and welfare.

To do this, the court will decide on two major issues: child custody and child support.

  • Child custody

Child custody refers to the legal and physical rights and responsibilities of the parents regarding their children.

The court may award the parents sole or joint custody, depending on what is best for the children.

  • Child support

The amount of child support is determined by a formula that takes into account both parents' incomes, the number of children, the custody arrangement, health insurance costs, and other expenses.

The court may deviate from the formula if it finds that it would be unjust or inappropriate to apply it.

How to protect your finances when going through a divorce in Idaho

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally charged and complex experience, particularly when it comes to financial matters.

Whether you’re concerned about safeguarding your assets, managing debts, or planning for the future, thoughtful steps can help you protect your financial well-being during this challenging time.

  1. Organize Your Finances:

    • Before initiating divorce proceedings, gather all relevant financial documents. These may include tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, and details of retirement accounts.

    • Create a comprehensive list of both marital and non-marital assets and liabilities. This inventory will serve as a foundation for negotiating a fair distribution of property and debts with your spouse.

  2. Consider Mediation:

    • Mediation offers an alternative to traditional courtroom battles. In this process, you and your spouse work with a neutral third party to resolve divorce-related issues.

    • Benefits of mediation include reduced time, lower costs, and decreased stress. It also promotes cooperation, which can be crucial for maintaining a civil relationship post-divorce.

  3. Social Security Considerations:

    • Eligibility for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record depends on several factors, including the duration of your marriage.

    • If you were married for at least 10 years, you may qualify for benefits. This can be especially valuable during retirement, particularly if your ex-spouse had higher earnings.

  4. Seek Professional Guidance:

    • Consult a financial advisor who specializes in divorce. They can provide personalized guidance on managing the financial impact of divorce.

    • Planning ahead can help you make informed decisions about budgeting, investments, and long-term financial stability.

Get expert financial advice

Remember that each divorce situation is unique, so consider seeking financial advice and tailor your financial strategies to your specific circumstances.

Empowering yourself with knowledge and professional support will help you navigate this challenging transition more effectively. 

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs. Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.