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Robert W. Vail is an attorney and the owner of the law firm Vail Family Law PLLC. His practice focuses on various aspects of family law including divorce, child custody, child support, modification and enforcement of court orders, paternity establishment, and adoption. Rob is also a trained mediator for family law matters and is on the Idaho Supreme Court’s list of approved child custody mediators.

Rob earned a Bachelor's degree in Family Sciences from BYU and his Juris Doctor from J. Reuben Clark Law School. After law school , Rob was employed for three years as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Cathy R. Silak - first at the Idaho Court of Appeals, and then at the Idaho Supreme Court. In 1994, Rob began working for Howell Law Offices,  and in 1997, Rob and Michael B. Howell formed the partnership Howell & Vail, LLP. For over 23 years Rob  has focused his personal practice in the area of family law matters, including more than 20 years as a special deputy attorney for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare handling paternity and child support matters. In addition, Rob also assisted in the firm’s extensive creditor's rights practice. In 2017, Rob  open his own law firm, where he continues to focus his practice on helping people find effective legal solutions in all types of family law matters.


Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage. The process is started by filing a petition with the court, and it is finished when a judge signs the decree of divorce. Although, if the parties have minor children, they will continue to share legal obligations to care for and financially support their children, after they are divorced from each other. The process of getting divorced can vary greatly between cases, depending on a variety of factors, but mostly on two: (1) the complexity of the issues to be resolved, and (2) whether the parties are able and willing to resolve those issues through collaborative negotiations, as opposed to litigation.

Meridian and Boise Idaho Divorce, Vail Family Law, Divorce Attorney


While marriages and families tend to share many things in common, each is also unique in its own set of circumstances.

Some of the issues that might need to be resolved during a divorce case include the following:

  •             Division of tangible personal property items (vehicles, furniture, equipment, etc)

  •             Division of ownership interests and/or value in a business

  •             Division of real property interests (home(s), vacation property, rental property, etc)

  •             Division of retirement accounts acquired during the marriage

  •             Division of responsibility for outstanding marital debts

  •             Division of parenting time and responsibilities for minor children

  •             Division of time with children during holidays, birthdays, and other special events

  •             Division of support obligations for minor children, including health care expenses & work-related child care expenses

  •             Division of tax benefits for dependent children

  •             Whether and to what extent ongoing spousal support should be ordered

  •             Whether provisions designed to prevent emotional and/or physical abuse need to be implemented

  •             Whether paternity of children needs to be established

A divorce may involve any or all of the above issues, and any one of the above issues can be very complicated, or very simple, or somewhere in between. Some of these divorce issues are discussed in greater detail in other parts of this website.


Collaborative solutions: For many good reasons, the parties should use their best efforts to resolve as many of the issues as they can through settlement negotiations. The parties, with the help of their attorneys, can and should attempt these negotiations themselves. Often it is helpful for the parties to meet with a mediator, a knowledgeable neutral person with training in family law matters, who can guide them in settlement negotiations. (For more about Mediation, please see the information provided under that practice area). To the extent the parties can resolve the issues by settlement agreement, they can avoid much of the contention, acrimony and expense generated in the litigation process. This is especially important if there are minor children involved, because after the divorce is done parents still need to co-parent their child(ren), and that is very difficult to do if the parents are unable to communicate civilly and work out sensible solutions together in spite of their competing interests. A collaborative approach to resolving issues requires a certain level of good will, emotional maturity, and discipline from both sides. If one or both sides are unwilling to do that, then it will be necessary for the judge to decide the issues.

Litigation:  The process of gathering evidence and presenting it to the judge so she or he can determine the outcome of your case is called litigation. Litigation is by nature time consuming, adversarial, stressful, and expensive. In almost every case, feelings of acrimony between the parties are greatly increased during the litigation process. Spending a significant amount of their assets on legal fees tends to further increase the anger and stress felt by the parties, and any good will that still existed between the parties can be quickly lost in the litigation process. In Ada County, it is common for it to take over a year to litigate a divorce case through trial. And while litigation is hard on the parties, the feelings of anger, stress, worry, hurt, and fear are usually even more severely felt by the children, who are less able to understand and deal with it. Although the emotional and financial cost of divorce litigation is high, it is sometimes necessary if the parties are not able to reach a reasonable settlement agreement.

If you are considering divorce, you should get competent legal counsel to help you understand the legal and practical issues relevant to your particular case, and how to go about resolving those issues in the best way possible. Robert Vail has been helping clients through the divorce process for over 20 years. He understands the confusion, hurt, and anxiety you may be feeling during this difficult time. He will listen carefully to your concerns and goals, and provide you with a realistic assessment of how Idaho family law and procedures work as applied to your unique circumstances. His objective is to help you preserve as much of your family resources as possible, accomplish a fair and equitable division of those resources, and establish post-divorce parenting roles and responsibilities in a way that will best meet the financial, emotional and social needs of your children, allowing both you and your children to move forward with greater confidence and hope. For answers to common questions regarding divorce, check out our latest blog post. 

Contact Vail Family Law for a free divorce consultation today

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1855 N Lakes Pl, Meridian, ID 83646

Tel:  208-336-9133


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