Kentucky Divorce Laws and How to File
Kentucky Divorce Laws – If you’re thinking of ending your marriage and you live in the Bluegrass State, you need to learn the divorce rules in Kentucky. You’ll need to file paperwork with the court to dissolve your union and make choices that affect various issues throughout the process.
This guide to divorce in Kentucky helps you know what to expect so that you are prepared for the steps involved in becoming single again.
Who Can File for Divorce in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, strict residency requirements limit who can file for divorce. You could get a divorce in Kentucky only if you or your spouse lived in the state at the time you filed the divorce papers and lived there for 180 days before the time you filed.
Individuals in the military must have been stationed in Kentucky for at least 180 days before filing for divorce.
What are the grounds to file for divorce in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, you can get a divorce if your marriage has completely broken down, which is a no-fault divorce. Divorce shall be granted whether one or both parties agree. A divorce decree cannot be issued unless the couple has lived separately for at least 60 days.
How to File for Divorce in Kentucky?
To file for divorce in Kentucky, you must submit the necessary paperwork to the courthouse in the county where you or your spouse reside. You can find the appropriate county court on the Kentucky Court of Justice website.
When you file for divorce, you must pay a filing fee. You can submit a form requesting a cost waiver if this would be a financial hardship.
The paperwork you will need to submit with your filing fee varies depending on your situation but may include the following:
- petition for dissolution of marriage
- entry of civil summons or appearance and waiver
- case data information sheet
- vital statistics form
The Kentucky Courts website has an extensive library of forms you can use throughout your divorce case.
You can search for the forms you need by keyword, or they are organized by category, so you can select the Family and Children’s Library to find the documents you need. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
Serving Divorce Paperwork in Kentucky
When you file for divorce, your spouse must be provided with official notice that you have filed court paperwork and are seeking to dissolve your marriage. This is called the service of process.
There are a few different ways you can serve your spouse with divorce papers in Kentucky:
- Asking the clerk of court to send documents via US mail with the return receipt requested
- Hiring a process server or sheriff to serve the pieces (and paying a fee to do so)
- Requesting a “warning order” means asking a court-appointed attorney to locate your spouse if you don’t know where they are.
If your spouse agrees to waive the service of process, you can avoid these steps and simplify the process if your spouse submits a court appearance and entry of waiver.
Regardless of the method chosen, your spouse has 20 days after the notice is given to respond. This would mean that your requests to the court are accepted by default. You can request the court to proceed with a default divorce if they don’t. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
Disputed or uncontested divorce
You can dissolve your marriage in Kentucky through a contested or uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse cannot agree on certain issues in ending your marriage, such as how parenting time will be shared and the amount of alimony and child support paid. (if any) or how the assets and debts are to be divided.
With a contested divorce, the court decides all the issues you can’t agree on. You will have a trial, and each spouse will present evidence, arguing for their preferred outcome.
If you opt for an uncontested divorce, you can decide with your spouse the major issues governing your post-divorce life. The two of you should reach a settlement agreement that will be included in your divorce decree. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
What is the waiting period for a Kentucky divorce?
In Kentucky, you and your spouse must have lived separately for at least 60 days before a court can annul your marriage. This requirement can be met even if you have been living under the same roof as long as no sexual activity occurred during that period. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
Getting Legal Help With a Divorce Case in Kentucky
While it’s not difficult to learn how to file for divorce in Kentucky, going through the process of filing court paperwork and trying to negotiate a settlement agreement (or arguing for your preferred outcome in court) can be complicated.
With your financial future and access to your children at stake, it is best to seek professional help from a Kentucky divorce attorney who can protect your legal interests throughout the marriage dissolution process. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is marital property divided in a Kentucky divorce?
In Kentucky, equitable distribution rules require the court to divide marital assets and share debts fairly.
This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split, but instead, the court considers the number of factors to determine what is appropriate for the situation.
You and your spouse can also negotiate an out-of-court settlement agreement to decide how to divide assets and debts. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
Can You Get Alimony in a Kentucky Divorce?
Alimony or spousal support is available under certain circumstances after a divorce in Kentucky.
The court will consider several factors, including the financial resources of both parties, the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the wedding, and whether you can develop the ability to support yourself (and how long it will take to do so).
If the court finds that you must stay home with a child and cannot work or support yourself, this will also be considered. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
How long does a Kentucky divorce take?
You must have been separated for at least 60 days before the court will grant a Kentucky divorce.
While this minimum requirement must be met, a divorce in Kentucky will often take longer than this because the marriage cannot be consummated until issues related to support and property division are resolved.
However, even if you have lived under the same roof, you can be considered living separately if no sexual activity has occurred. (Kentucky Divorce Laws)
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