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Personal and Professional Legal Services in the Heart of Vermont

FAQs About Divorce

Whether you or your spouse initiated it, going through a divorce can be a confusing time in your life – a time when you need guidance and support the most. While loved ones can offer you personal advice, legal matters are best left to the professionals. As your attorney, I can help clients like you navigate tough family law issues and more. Get some of the answers you need here or reach out about your situation to see how I can assist you.

Q: What Should I Do If My Spouse Filed For Divorce?

A: If your spouse files for divorce and you anticipate conflict or wish to raise your own disputes, contact an attorney. With a legal representative at your side, you can protect your best interests and parental rights. Even if there is no major disagreement, a lawyer can still inform you of your rights and ensure that you are aware of any impact your decisions may have.

Q: How Does Child Custody Work In Vermont?

A: In Vermont, custody or parental rights and responsibilities often includes a physical and legal component. Physical responsibility refers to your child’s place of residence and their day-to-day needs, whereas legal responsibility refers to major life decisions such as schooling, travel, surgery and more. While the court may award legal responsibility to both parents, you and your ex-spouse must agree on shared physical custody. If you cannot reach an agreement, note that the court may choose to only award one parent physical responsibility.

Q: Who Pays Child Support?

A: There are very specific guidelines and rules when it comes to child support payments. But ultimately, the idea is to provide your child with the same support he or she would have had prior to the divorce. Often, the responsibility of child support payments falls on the noncustodial parent. In these matters, you and your ex-spouse may choose to reach an agreement on your own regarding the amount. The court will then review your numbers to ensure that they adhere to the guidelines. On the other hand, if both parents cannot agree, then a hearing will be set to settle the matter.

Q: Are The Assets Split In Half?

A: This depends on you and your ex-spouse. If you both can reach an agreement that is reasonable, the court will generally accept your decision. However, if disputes arise, then a judge will need to step in. As Vermont follows the equitable distribution model, it is unlikely that your marital assets will get divided down the middle. Instead, the length of your marriage, your occupation and various other factors will determine who receives what.

Q: Who Gets The House?

A: Again, unless you and your ex-spouse can agree on who will remain in the home or whether you will sell it and split the profits, the court must intervene. Generally, if someone does remain in the marital home, they do so with a stipulation. This could mean until their circumstances change or the youngest child reaches maturity. In that scenario, when the child turns 18, the parent occupying the house must choose to buy out the other spouse or sell the home and divide the proceeds.

Q: How Is Our Debt Divided?

A: Similar to your assets and properties, the court will classify your debt as marital or separate. This means that any debt that belonged to you before your union remains yours. But debt accumulated during your marriage will be equitably – but not necessarily equally – divided between you and your ex-spouse.

Identifying What Matters And Moving On

The stress and frustration that frequently go with the ending of a marriage can overshadow your life. I can help you identify your priorities and find a path toward a brighter post-divorce future today.

Contact Me For Help

Conveniently located in Montpelier, I serve individuals and families throughout central Vermont. For more information, call The Law Office of Amy K. Butler at to arrange a consultation, or send an email with any inquiries you may have.