The divorce process
A divorce in Idaho has several distinct phases. First, the initial stage is where the party filing the petition for the divorce and serves the other party. The person that files first is called the Petitioner and the other party is called the Respondent. The petition states what the Petitioner wants in regards to physical and legal custody of the minor children, how the Petitioner wants to divide assets, whether the Petitioner is requesting alimony (spousal maintenance), and among other things whether the Petitioner is alleging any domestic abuse or other reasons that he or she should get an uneven distribution of the assets or more custody than the Respondent.
After the petition has been filed, the Petitioner must serve the Respondent with the initial documentation. After the Respondent has been served, they have twenty (20) days from the date that he or she has been served to file a response. The response admits or denies the allegations contained in the petition for divorce. The response may also assert a counterclaim which details what the Respondent would like as the Petitioner did in the initial petition. The Petitioner then must respond to the Respondent's counterclaim.
After the initial pleadings have been filed, both of the parties must submit mandatory disclosures to the other party. A lot of the information that must be disclosed is financial in nature such as:
- the last two years of tax returns;
- recent pay stubs; and
- recent bank statements for any and all bank accounts.
Following the initial pleadings, the discovery stage begins which includes the mandatory disclosures mentioned above. The discovery stage is where each party asks the other party to admit certain allegations, requests the other party to answer certain questions related to the parties' relationship, the best interests of the minor child(ren), and the financial condition of each party.
The last step of the case is a court trial which the court schedules earlier in the case. In the event that the case proceeds all the way to the trial, this is the stage of the case where the parties present evidence to the court on all issues including child custody, asset division, debt division, and any other issues that are before court that bear on the divorce proceeding. At the end of the trial, and after the court has considered all the evidence before it, the court will make a final judgment and enter the decree of divorce.