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Vermont Family Law

Vermont Family Law


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.