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Vermont Family Law

Vermont Family Law

Vermont Family Law: Protecting the Best Interests of Families

Family law is a legal field that deals with matters concerning families, relationships, children, and related issues. Family law matters can be complex and emotionally charged, and require the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. The goal of family law is to protect the best interests of families and ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly and equitably.

In this article, we will explore Vermont family law and how it helps protect the rights of families and individuals in the state. We will discuss the various areas of family law, from divorce and child custody to paternity and domestic abuse. We’ll also examine some of the recent updates to Vermont family law, including changes to same-sex marriage laws and child support guidelines.

Divorce Law in Vermont

Divorce is one of the primary areas of family law, and Vermont has specific laws governing the process. Vermont is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that neither spouse has to prove any fault or wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. To get a divorce, at least one spouse must have resided in Vermont for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, there must be irreconcilable differences or the marriage must have broken down irretrievably.

In Vermont, divorce proceedings involve a series of steps, including filing the petition for divorce, serving the other party, property division, and child custody and support. Vermont law encourages both parties to work together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on these issues, and couples who divorce through mediation often enjoy a smoother, faster, and less costly process.

Child Custody Law in Vermont

Child custody matters can be some of the most challenging and emotionally charged issues in Vermont family law. When determining child custody, Vermont courts place a high priority on the best interests of the child or children involved. Factors that may be considered when awarding custody include the child’s age, physical and emotional health, relationship with each parent, and the parents’ ability to meet the child’s needs.

In Vermont, there are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody refers to where the child resides and with whom they spend their time.

Vermont law encourages parents to work together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on child custody and support. However, when parents cannot agree, the court may intervene and make a determination based on the best interests of the child. In some cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney who represents the child’s best interests.

Paternity Law in Vermont

Establishing paternity is an important issue in Vermont family law, particularly when it comes to child custody and support. Paternity can be established in a variety of ways, including DNA testing, an acknowledgment of paternity, or through a court order.

When a child is born to unmarried parents, paternity must be established before a father can be granted custody or visitation rights. Additionally, the father may be required to provide financial support for the child. In some cases, the mother may also be required to pay child support.

Domestic Abuse Law in Vermont

Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on families, and Vermont has specific laws in place to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. Under Vermont law, domestic abuse includes physical harm, threats, stalking, sexual assault, and harassment between family or household members.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek a variety of protective orders from the court, including restraining orders and orders for no contact. Violators of a protective order may face criminal charges and penalties.

Recent Changes to Vermont Family Law

Vermont has recently made several updates to its family law statutes. In July 2019, Vermont passed a new child support law that takes into account the child’s age, the parents’ combined incomes, and the number of children involved. The new law is designed to ensure that child support payments are fair and equitable and reflect the current economic climate.

Additionally, Vermont has recently expanded its marriage laws to include same-sex couples. Since 2009, Vermont has recognized civil unions between same-sex couples, but in 2013, Vermont began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Finally, in 2019, Vermont officially legalized same-sex marriage, extending equal rights and protections to all couples in the state.


Family law is a vital field of law that helps protect the best interests of families and their individual members. Vermont family law covers a wide range of issues, including divorce, child custody, paternity, and domestic abuse. The state has specific laws and procedures in place to ensure that families are treated fairly and equitably, and recent updates reflect the evolving nature of family structures and needs.

If you are facing a family law matter in Vermont, it’s essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

A Brief Guide to Vermont Family Law

Many aspects of managing your domestic life may require you to interact with the legal system. Vermont family laws govern such areas of private life as marriage, divorce and making a will. While all of these legal processes can be completed without a lawyer, it is important to be aware of some aspects of VT family law when doing so.

Since the state does not recognize common law marriage, two spouses who wish to receive benefits such as joint filing status from their relationship must be officially married under Vermont family law. Apply for a marriage license and return a copy of the marriage certificate to your local circuit court to comply with VT family law.

Though many people think it is difficult to execute a divorce in compliance with Vermont family laws without an attorney, this is not necessarily the case. By cooperating before filing a motion to end a marriage, two spouses can complete the divorce process under VT family law without an attorney’s help. You can create a separation agreement that is legally binding under Vermont family laws with the help of a generic online document. This agreement must detail your approach to issues such as:

• Child custody arrangements

• Visitation rights for the non-custodial parent

• Child support payments

• Alimony payments

While you may decide to have a lawyer review your agreement to ensure the language is in compliance with Vermont family law, this will commonly be an unnecessary expense. If a judge orders you to rewrite part or this entire document, they will issue instructions specific enough to be executed without an attorney’s guidance.

When couples with minor children cannot come to an agreement, Vermont family laws permit a judge to order them to attempt mediation. These guided discussions are attempted with the goal of resolving any disagreements rather than relying upon the potentially unsatisfactory decision of a judge. Vermont family law forbids anything that is said during these sessions to be reported to the court, with the goal of encouraging candid and open discussion. Should mediation fail, VT family law does not allow either spouse to hire an attorney who has acted as a mediator to represent them in family court.

Couples who are in a contested divorce will find the process of negotiating Vermont family laws much more expensive. While you are free to represent yourself, you risk committing avoidable legal violations of VT family law. To make the strongest possible use of your rights under Vermont family law, you may need to retain an attorney’s help.

When deciding how you wish for your estate to be handled after your death, it is advisable to create a legally binding will in compliance with VT family law. Using clear and precise detail language is best achieved with the help of a lawyer experienced in Vermont family laws in this area. Failure to use language that cannot be challenged may lead to probate court litigation among disputing claimants. Vermont family law also dictates this will be the case if you die in an “intestate” condition, meaning you have failed to leave a will.