State Laws

Vermont State Laws

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Before becoming a state or a colony, the area that is now Vermont was once inhabited by Iroquois and Abenaki American Indian tribes. France had claimed the land but was later won by the British in the French and Indian War in the eighteenth century. When looking to become a colony, the land borders were then disputed for a fourth time by what are now the states of New York and New Hampshire.

In 1791 Vermont became the first state that was not previously a colony to join the union. The state's capital reigns as the smallest capital, via population, in the entire country. Vermont is best known as the birthplace of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream as well as being the largest producer of maple syrup.

Prior to becoming a state Vermont Republic had its own colonial laws for fourteen years. Now that it is a state Vermont has its own state laws for its people. Some of these laws include labor laws, bankruptcy laws, gun laws, divorce laws, expungement laws, felony conviction laws, and drunken driving laws.

Vermont has two forms of bankruptcy -- Chapter Seven bankruptcy and Chapter Thirteen bankruptcy -- that are used for personal purposes. To determine which of these chapters an individual qualifies for, a means test will be performed upon petitioning. The means test will evaluate an individual's debt and income in comparison to the mean of all other citizens in the state of Vermont. Depending on if an individual's income comes above or below the state mean, an individual will be granted a type of bankruptcy.

Chapter Seven bankruptcy is normally for those who have incomes below the state mean and uses an individual's property to eliminate debts. Chapter Thirteen bankruptcy is normally for those who have incomes above the state mean and creates a personal payment plan to not exceed five years. Not all who apply for bankruptcy are granted bankruptcy.

Each state has its own requirements for filing for divorce; however all divorce cases, no matter the state, are handled by individual counties. Vermont requires its citizens to reside within state borders for a minimum of six month prior to filing for divorce. One individual may petition for divorce without his or her spouse and may file in his or her own county of residency or that of his or her spouse, if the spouse lives in another Vermont county.

Vermont law requires the individual petitioning be a state resident for at least one year when his or her divorce hearing reaches the court. Those on military duty or those who must leave the state for extended periods of time for employment, medical treatment, or other required purpose are exempt from this requirement.

Some states break their felonies into alphabetical groups and some number their felonies by severity. The state of Vermont does not break its felonies into any kind of section. Instead this state divides its felonies into degrees of severity. Each degree has a minimum and a maximum set punishment for different kinds of offenses.