Thursday, March 7, 2013

Best and Worst States for Getting Divorced

I am aware that the states differ dramatically in the nature of divorces and have wondered which the best and worst states are.  As usual I goggled and found the following: The Best and Worst States for Getting Divorced by Joel Stonington and Alex McIntyre at
Following are excerpts from the article.
Bloomberg Rankings rated the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on the obstacles they pose to obtaining a divorce. These include court filing fees, mandated separation periods, residency requirements, waiting periods, and the minimum time required to complete the divorce process. Read on to see how states rank, from easiest to most difficult.”
New Hampshire (1)
Filing fee: $180*
Minimum processing time: 0 days*
Divorce rate: 9.9**
You can't stay in a hotel for one night and go home single the next, but getting divorced in New Hampshire is almost that easy. There's no minimum processing time or minimum residency. "Say you're both living in Massachusetts," said Cathryn Nunlist, associate professor of law at Vermont Law School. "You both move to New Hampshire. You can file the next day, not a problem. There is a requirement that you are a resident. You can establish residency just by crossing the border and staying there."

*All state data from state websites
**U.S. Census Bureau, number of persons divorcing annually among 1,000 men and women, aged 15 and over
Home State
Arizona (19)
Filing fee: $321
Minimum processing time: 150 days
Divorce rate: 11.4
In 1998, Arizona followed in Louisiana's footsteps and enacted what is known as covenant marriage, by which couples agree to premarital counseling and accept fewer options for divorce. Those who choose a covenant marriage must prove fault if there is no agreement about dissolving it.
Vermont (51)
Filing fee: $262.50
Minimum processing time: 450 days
Divorce rate: 10.6
It's hard to get divorced in Vermont. "When they come to me and say 'let's get divorced,' I say, 'let's do it in New Hampshire because that's the easier one," said Cathryn Nunlist, a professor at Vermont Law School. Nunlist practices divorce law and lives near the border of Vermont and New Hampshire. Couples must live apart during Vermont's six-month mandated separation time. A year of residency is required before a divorce can be granted, and then a three-month "decree nisi" period must pass before a judge's approval becomes absolute.
Entire list
·         New Hampshire (1)
·         Wyoming (2)
·         Alaska (3)
·         Idaho (4)
·         South Dakota (5)
·         Nevada (6)
·         Maine (7)
·         Tennessee (8)
·         Montana (9)
·         Missouri (10)
·         Iowa (11)
·         Connecticut (12)
·         Kansas (13)
·         North Dakota (14)
·         Washington (15)
·         New Mexico (16)
·         Massachusetts (17)
·         Oklahoma (18)
·         Arizona (19)
·         Alabama (20)
·         Hawaii (21)
·         Ohio (22)
·         Georgia (23)
·         Minnesota (24)
·         Colorado (25)
·         Mississippi (26)
·         Kentucky (27)
·         Delaware (28)
·         Utah (29)
·         Michigan (30)
·         Washington, D.C. (31)
·         Virginia (32)
·         Indiana (33)
·         Illinois (34)
·         Florida (35)
·         Texas (36)
·         West Virginia (37)
·         Louisiana (38)
·         Oregon (39)
·         Pennsylvania (40)
·         Wisconsin (41)
·         Maryland (42)
·         New Jersey (43)
·         North Carolina (44)
·         Nebraska (45)
·         New York (46)
·         California (47)
·         Arkansas (48)
·         South Carolina (49)
·         Rhode Island (50)
·         Vermont (51)
The ranking applies to no-fault divorces of couples with no minor children. All numbers are statutory minimums and do not reflect waivers or exceptions granted by the courts. The 50 states and District of Columbia accrue points based on the following variables:

Court filing fees (10 points).
Minimum separation period (20 points): This includes whether or not the state requires separation before divorce (5 points), the length of separation required (10 points) and the strictness of the terms of separation (5 points).
Minimum length of residency (20 points).
Minimum waiting period after filing for divorce (20 points).
Minimum number of days required for entire process, from start to finish (30 points).
Final score: For each variable, the state with the lowest value received zero points, while the state with the highest value received the maximum number of points. Remaining states were then awarded points on a percentile basis. States were ranked on total points, with a higher score indicating a more onerous divorce process.
Data providers: Bloomberg, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state bar associations, legislatures and judiciaries for each state and the District of Columbia
This is more of a procedural analysis.  It is also important to look at results.  For example alimony varies tremendously.  See my Monday, April 7, 2008 blog on Alimony Questions at
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