By Katie Davis
While divorce laws are complex, have many facets and are sometimes interpreted a bit differently by different judges, there is no doubt that there are a few U.S. states where obtaining a divorce becomes quite an ordeal.
Check out this list of the worst states for divorce and why their laws make divorce so tricky.
Rhode Island – The smallest, geographically, and also one of the most historical states in the country, Rhode Island has the second-longest divorce waiting period with a minimum processing stretch of 510 days. The filing fee is only $120, but that waiting period can be pretty difficult for many couples seeking a divorce.
Like many states in the New England area, Rhode Island actually has a low marriage rate as well as a low divorce rate.
South Carolina – Visited by vacationers for its beautiful beaches, palm trees and warm weather, South Carolina is not exactly divorce-friendly. The state mandates a minimum of a one-year separation period before divorce filing can even take place.
South Carolina also requires residency in the state, requiring three months of residency if each party lives there. If only one party actually lives in South Carolina, then the residency requirement becomes a year for the other individual. It is tied with Vermont for the third-longest processing time.
Arkansas – In a state full of world-renowned hot springs and southern charm, things still become quite difficult when focused on divorce. Arkansas only has a filing fee of $165, but the minimum processing time of 540 days is over-the-top.
The state has the longest actual processing time in the country, so that makes it extremely hard to obtain a no-fault divorce there. Arkansas also requires all divorcing couples to have 18 months of separation with no exceptions – that means that any small amount of cohabitation during that time takes parties back to square one.
Vermont – This state known for its several mountains, big lakes and gorgeous winters is also one of the worst U.S. states for divorce. The waiting period for divorce is one of the worst with a mandatory six-month separation period that must take place between the parties.
Beyond the waiting period, a year of residency must happen before a divorce is official, and then there’s still a three-month period before the judge’s approval is truly set in stone. Many Vermont couples actually go next door to New Hampshire to get divorced.
New York – The Empire State known for its pretty landscapes as well as the extremely populous NYC is one of the worst states for divorce in the country. Filing fees are a whopping $335 each, and there is a minimum processing time of 360 days.
Before 2010, New York didn’t recognize no-fault divorce, but that has fortunately changed. The state requires that there be a “marital breakdown” of at least six months, but parties do not have to be physically separated for the entire duration of that time.
Nebraska – Known for Midwestern hospitality, multiple rivers and numerous historic trails, Nebraska is also known for being tough on those seeking a divorce. The state’s filing fee is $157, but the shock comes with the 420-day waiting requirement for all divorce papers.
A year’s residency must be established, and there is also a two-month cooling-off period.
California – Divorce in the pretty Golden State is quite expensive. Divorcing couples must pay a $395 fee, one of the highest fees in the entire country. On top of that fee, couples must wait 360 days for all paperwork to be processed.
At this point, Cali also requires a six-month “cooling off” period after filing happens.