Is it Harder to Get Divorced in Certain States?

In the midst of property division, child custody battles, support agreements, and day-to-day questions, such as where you’ll live when you’re single – the location of your divorce might not be at the forefront of your mind. Yet, like almost all laws, each state has its own statutes in dealing with divorce cases. The state in which you or your spouse reside can make a major difference in your divorce experience. Believe it or not, there are some states that make the divorce process even more miserable than others. The following four states don’t make divorce easy.


If you’re looking for a quick split from your spouse, don’t move to Vermont. If you file for a no-fault divorce, you have to live physically separate from your spouse for at least six months – on top of a one-year residency requirement to even begin the process in Vermont. A no-fault divorce is one in which the filing spouse does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong to qualify for a divorce. Filing due to “irreconcilable differences” is an example of something that would work in a no-fault divorce case.

Once you or your spouse have lived in Vermont for at least one year, you can file for divorce. You cannot schedule your final divorce hearing until you’ve lived separately for at least six months. After you and your spouse go through the entire divorce process, the judge will not approve or finalize the split until an additional three-month waiting period passes – bringing the total amount of time for a divorce in Vermont to around 450 days. Such an extensive waiting period makes Vermont one of the least desirable places for divorce.

Rhode Island

Rhode Islanders also have an excessively long waiting period for divorce – even longer than Vermont. However, a reasonable filing fee of just $120 helps this state come in second place to Vermont. To obtain a divorce in Rhode Island, you and your spouse must go through a 510-day waiting period, including a three-month-long wait at the end of the process before the judge will finalize the divorce decree. If you and your spouse have been separated for at least three years, you can get a divorce immediately.

South Carolina

Like Vermont, couples look at a 450-day waiting period before getting a divorce in South Carolina. There is a one-year separation period in which the couple must live apart – one of the longest mandatory separation periods in the country. There is also a three-month residency requirement if both parties reside in South Carolina, culminating in the minimum processing time of 450 days. If one spouse does not live in South Carolina, the other party must have lived in the state for at least one year before filing.


Divorce in Arkansas comes with a hefty minimum processing time of 540 days – the longest of any state. There is a nominal filing fee of just $165. The excessive length of the divorce process is due to a mandatory 18-month period of separation (in which the couple must live apart) before the court will finalize the divorce. Such a long separation period prior to divorce can be difficult for couples when one has a financial advantage over the other.