(a) A complaint for divorce or annulment of civil marriage may be brought if either party to the marriage has resided within the State for a period of six months or more, but a divorce shall not be decreed for any cause, unless the plaintiff or the defendant has resided in the State one year next preceding the date of final hearing. Temporary absence from the State because of illness, employment without the State, service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or other legitimate and bona fide cause shall not affect the six months’ period or the one-year period specified in the preceding sentence, provided the person has otherwise retained residence in this State.
(b) Notwithstanding provisions to the contrary, a complaint for divorce may be filed in the Family Division of Superior Court in the county in which the marriage certificate was filed by parties who are not residents of Vermont provided all of the following criteria are met:
(1) The marriage was established in Vermont.
(2) Neither party’s state of legal residence recognizes the couple’s Vermont marriage for purposes of divorce.
(3) There are no minor children who were born or adopted during the marriage.
(4) The parties file a stipulation together with a complaint that resolves all issues in the divorce action. The stipulation shall be signed by both parties and shall include the following terms:
(A) An agreement that the terms and conditions of the stipulation may be incorporated into a final order of divorce.
(B) The facts upon which the Court may base a decree of divorce and that bring the matter before the Court’s jurisdiction.
(C) An acknowledgment that:
(i) Each party understands that if he or she wishes to litigate any issue related to the divorce before a Vermont court, one of the parties must meet the residency requirement set forth in subsection (a) of this section.
(ii) Neither party is the subject of an abuse prevention order in a proceeding between the parties.
(iii) There are no minor children who were born or adopted during the marriage.
(iv) Neither party’s state of legal residence recognizes the couple’s Vermont marriage for purposes of divorce.
(v) Each party has entered into the stipulation freely and voluntarily.
(vi) the parties have exchanged all financial information, including income, assets, and liabilities.
(c) The Court shall waive a final hearing on any divorce action filed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section unless the Court determines upon review of the complaint and stipulation that the filing is incomplete or that a hearing is warranted for the purpose of clarifying a provision of the stipulation. Final uncontested hearings in a nonresident divorce action shall be conducted by telephone unless one or both of the parties choose to appear in person.