Kentucky divorce details
Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in Kentucky
Two main ways you can go arranging your divorce are to contest the case or not. A contested divorce implies that there is a disagreement on some (or even all) important terms of your post-married life between you and your spouse. This means that you have to go to trial. Contested divorce usually is equal to numerous court disputes and high costs of attorneys representing the each spouse’s interests and so on. Generally, it is namely the way how most people imagine the divorce.
However, an Uncontested divorce is much easier. It assumes that the spouses can more or less independently (without the litigations and the judge’s orders) reach an agreement on such issues like property division, custody, parenting time, maintenance and others saving the precious time and money.
Uncontested Divorce in Kentucky
If you are going to get an uncontested divorce in Kentucky you should meet relevant Residency Requirements and some other conditions like:
- The spouses have to go through the 60-days waiting period before getting the divorce. This means that they must be separated for this period.
- The wife mustn’t be pregnant at the time of filing the divorce. If she is, the divorce proceeding will be postponed until the baby is born.
But yet the main feature of an uncontested divorce is a possibility to make such a Marital Settlement Agreement, which can satisfy each of the spouses. This document rules all the terms of the case.
In addition, having some misunderstandings or difficulties with their uncontested case and Settlement Agreement, the spouses can try a divorce mediation. Such an alternative dispute resolution is very popular now, and takes less money than attorney assistance.
Grounds for Divorce in Kentucky
Kentucky belongs to purely no-fault states. What does it mean? You don’t need to point out any other cause of divorce besides "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”. This no-fault grounds clearly describes your desire and intention to get a divorce, and, in fact, that's all that matters.
Kentucky Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
To file for divorce in Kentucky you or your spouse must meet the following Residency Requirements:
- To be a resident of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for at least 180 days by the time of filing the Petition.
- To be stationed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an active military member for at least 180 days by the time of filing the Petition.
Notice, that the residency must be proved before the court by an appropriate witness.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Kentucky?
All uncontested cases have similar routes. Though you still may have to make some additional efforts according to your certain case, there is a basic list of steps you must take anyway:
- Complete the Petition for divorce in a proper circuit court of your county.
- Pay the court fees in the court clerk’s office. This fee cover the court services.
- Serve your spouse with the Petition copy and other divorce paperwork by hiring the sheriff’s deputy or private process server. It is not necessary if the spouses are already in agreement. The non-filing spouse can sign a Waiver of service in that case.
- Go through the waiting period. There must be 60 days from your separation to the possible date of divorce (and your separation may start before the filing date). Most couples use this time for working on their Marital Settlement Agreement and for mediation sessions.
- Attend the final hearing. It is a pretty brief and dry event. One of the spouses should provide a testimony before the judge. The judge approves the Agreement and signs the Final Decree of Divorce. The divorce is granted.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Kentucky
If your case is simple enough, namely, if you can successfully negotiate with your spouse, or you just have not so many controversial issues (like child custody, visitation, splitting of lots of assets and so on) you can try to obtain a DIY divorce. Do-it-yourself divorce means that you can deal with your divorce case without a legal assistance.
This way requires a high level of responsibility and good organizational skills. You will have to learn all the state and county laws and rules which are associated with your case, select the correct forms and complete them accurately in order that the court could approve your job. The less stressful and time-consuming form of DIY divorce is to use an inexpensive and reliable online service like this one. Our company specializes in uncontested cases, so your divorce forms may be properly prepared within a day just for $149. Preparation of the documents is the main part of any DIY divorce. All the process after should be pretty easy to finalize the divorce by yourself, so you don’t need to spend more time and money if your case is simple enough.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
Generally, the initial cost of an uncontested divorce is determined by the filing fee which may be between $113 and $200 in different Kentucky counties. Additional costs may include serving service to deliver the Petition to your spouse, mediator fees or fees for "Families in Transition" class (if you have children).
Attorney flat fees for uncontested divorce starts on $500 in Kentucky.
How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Kentucky?
Due to Kentucky has a mandatory 60-days waiting period, the minimum time you may need to get a divorce is 60 days or even bit less if your separation started before filing the Petition.
On average, an uncontested divorce in the state of Kentucky takes between 60 and 90 days to finalize the case.
Papers & Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Kentucky
Due to your unique situation, you may need lots of different forms, and it's hard to predict which ones, without having studied the case. But there are basic forms which are necessary to fill out in any divorce case in the state of Kentucky:
- Form #1A - Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Without Children), or Form #1B - Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (With Children)
- AOC-FC-3 - Case Data Information Sheet
- AOC-105 - Civil Summons
- Form #2A - Mandatory Case Disclosure (Without Children), or Form #2B - Mandatory Case Disclosure (With Children)
- Form #3A - Marital Settlement Agreement (Without Children), or Form #3B - Marital Settlement Agreement (With Children)
- Form #5A - Findings of Fact and Decree of Dissolution (Without Children), or Form #5B - Findings of Fact and Decree of Dissolution (With Children)
How to Serve Your Spouse in Kentucky
As a Petitioner, you have 45 days after filing to serve your spouse with the divorce paperwork. This is needed to officially notify your spouse about your motion.
In Kentucky, there are two ways how to deliver the forms to your spouse:
- By registered mail (this means that you send the documents from the courthouse).
- By Sheriff service (the Sheriff hands the copies directly to your spouse).
Online Divorce in Kentucky
In Kentucky, you may download the forms online and do the first preparations for your divorce without attending a courthouse or a clerk’s office. The companies like ours offer the document preparation service, and it’s a convenient way to avoid all the red tape.
For example, our service can customize a paperwork kit according to your case in the shortest terms. In addition, we can review the forms and give an online advice, and we guarantee the court will approve your forms. As time is money, an online divorce is a very popular option for uncontested cases.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Kentucky
Kentucky law assumes that both parents are responsible to support their children. When the one parent is a custodian then he/she naturally contributes to the everyday care of the child, so the other parent should compensate these expenses with a special stated payment which is called “Child support”. An amount of these payments can be determined by the Child Support Guidelines of the state. The guidelines are needed to calculate a child support for a particular case, and both parents’ income and a number of children must be taken into account. However, with the court’s consent, parents may agree on an amount different from recommended by the guidelines.
The custody can be both sole (primary) and joint in Kentucky depending on the case. Since the last year there is a presumption of joint custody also called shared parenting. This means that in the majority of cases both parents have equal rights to spend time with their children and make decisions which can significantly affect children’s lives. Instead of alternate weekends and short visits, the parent who doesn’t live with the child can be involved in the child’s life almost as much as before the divorce.
Surely, the court must consider a lot of factors deciding the shared parenting. The joint custody definitely must be recognized as an option that meets the best interests of the child.
Rules for Spousal Support in Kentucky
Spousal support also called alimony or spousal maintenance is a temporary or permanent payment that can be requested by either spouse. The condition for obtaining a maintenance is the inability of one spouse to support themselves after the divorce, which should be proved before the court. Deciding alimony the court takes into account both spouse’ income and earning skills.
In Kentucky, there are three types of a spousal maintenance:
- Temporary Maintenance. This short-time payment is ordered for the time of divorce is in process. It is needed to compensate for a sharp change of everyday routine and associated costs.
- Rehabilitative maintenance. This is the most “popular” type of alimony, usually awarded for a term equal the half-length of marriage. These payments give the spouse with the lower income the time and opportunity to obtain a well-paid job, to improve his/her professional skills and become self-sufficient.
- Permanent maintenance. This kind of alimony is very rare, and can’t be awarded if the marriage lasted less than 10 years. In addition, the court considers whether one of the spouses really hasn’t an income, or this income is much lower than other spouse’s one. The health problem or physical incapacity that prevents one spouse from working can also be the reason to request a permanent maintenance.
Division of Property in Kentucky
Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, so, during the divorce, the property must be divided in a just way at the court discretion.
“Equitable” doesn’t mean "equal", so the court considers every case separately, carefully learning numerous factors that may be significant. Among them are a length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial condition after the divorce, each spouse’s contribution to the family well-being prior to divorce, and many others.
Anyway, preparing for divorce you should determine marital and separate property. Under the "equitable distribution" rules only the marital property is subject to division during a divorce.
- Separate property. All the property which was owned by each spouse prior to marriage, all the gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the marriage, and all the profit gained from the sale/exchange of separate property.
- Marital property.All the property and assets gained during the marriage. The property may be in wife's or husband's name, it doesn't matter. Real estate, retirement payments, and the separate property which value increased during the marriage due to the both spouses’ contribution are the marital property too.
Surely, if the spouses have a Premarital Agreement their property must be divided under its terms, even if they differ a lot from these Equitable Distribution principals.
Division of Debt in Kentucky
Marital debt is a part of a marital property. In Kentucky, to divide it properly the court considers such factors as liabilities and financial conditions of each spouse, purposes with which some loans and credits were taken, and also who caused and collected the debt, and who is more responsible for it.
So, even the joint debt may be ordered to pay by one spouse, if, for example, it is grounded in one party’s gambling addiction or smth like that.
Divorce Mediation in Kentucky
Divorce Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, simply put, it is the way how to resolve some significant issues outside the court. Divorce mediation is aimed at real solution of problems jointly by spouses and not on their competition.
During the mediation session, the parties negotiate with the help of neutral mediator, who doesn’t present either spouse’s interests and hasn’t any decision-making power. The spouses should reach an agreement about property division and children-related issues, and a mediator helps them to understand each other, to discuss the problems politely, and eventually to make a successful Marital Settlement Agreement.
It can be said that divorce mediation is an attempt to avoid litigation. This alternative is especially recommended if the spouses have children, because it’s an important reason to keep their relationship civilized, and also, such an uncontested divorce is typically less emotionally harmful for the child. Also, though mediators also charge an hourly payment, it is much less than attorneys fees, and you may need just a few sessions.
How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Kentucky
If your spouse is missing and cannot be found you may file for Divorce by Publication. In Kentucky, in such a case the court appoints a “warning order attorney”. You should file an Affidavit for Warning Order Attorney form to request this service.
The warning order attorney must locate your spouse basing on information about his/her last known address and maybe some other data provided by you. The specialist has 50 days to search for your spouse and to prepare a report describing all the efforts made. If the spouse is found he/she must be properly served with the Petition and the Summons, but if he/she still absent - the service by publication takes place.
The notice of your case must be published in a local newspaper in the county where you filed for divorce. After a certain time after it the divorce is granted without your spouse’s participation, however, the court hasn’t right to decide custody, support, and financial issues in the case of divorce by publication.
Default Divorce in Kentucky
Divorce by publication is, generally, a Default Divorce, it assumes that the non-filing spouse fails to respond the Petition. Whether it is impossible to serve your spouse with the documents or he/she is served but just refuses to answer - in both cases the way is a default judgment.
Once you served your spouse with the Summons, he/she has 20 days to answer. After this period you can file a Motion for Default Judgment and notarize it with the court clerk in order to start a default divorce without your partner.
Annulment of the Marriage in Kentucky
Annulment is recognition the marriage as void and illegal from the very beginning. It even can’t be said that an annulment terminates the marriage, because it's like the marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. Surely, there is a list of special legal grounds to annul the marriage.
In Kentucky, these causes are:
- Incapacity (one of the spouses couldn't consent to the marriage)
- Consent to the marriage obtained by duress
- Fraud (one spouses lied about smth significant to the terms of marriage)
- Underage marriage (one spouse was under 18)
Legal Separation in Kentucky
A procedure of the Legal Separation is rather similar to divorce, except that Legal Separation doesn't actually (legally) end the marriage, and the spouses can't remarry.
Legal separation rules the issues of property division, child custody & visitation, spousal support and other typical divorce questions. To file for a legal separation you need to file a special Petition, and your spouse has to agree with this decision. "Legal Separation Decree" can be turned out into "Divorce Decree" with the court approval, but not earlier than 365 days later after legal separation was obtained.
Oftenly, people choose a legal separation if they keep the hope to reconcile someday, or for some religious or financial reasons.
Same-Sex Divorce in Kentucky
Same-Sex marriage and with it, of course, a divorce are officially recognized in the state of Kentucky since the relevant Supreme Court ruling in 2015.
This landmark ruling declared the gay marriage to be the constitutional right, so now, three years later, same-gender couples have the same rights and have to go through exactly the same divorce procedure as the straight ones.
However, Kentucky is still quite famous for the intolerant views of some judges, and the scandals associated with discrimination against LGBT still periodically break out in the state. So, unfortunately, in some cases (depending on the county, court, judge, and case specificity) you may even need a qualified attorney for your divorce to fight against prejudice.
In addition, the state of Kentucky doesn't recognize common law marriages.
Military Divorce in Kentucky
In Kentucky, to file for a military divorce the residency requirements are the same as for civil divorce, however, they are also spread to the place of deployment of a military member spouse. So the filing spouse should reside in Kentucky or be stationed in a military base there for at least 180 days before filing the Petition.
All the military members are protected from the default judgement by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). Though the serving requirements are the same as for civil divorce, and your spouse still must be personally served with a paperwork the divorce case may be postponed for the whole time the military spouse in on duty. Also, there are an additional 60 days after that, in order for the military spouse had time to sort ou all the divorce issues and give an answer.
Property division in a military divorce is ruled by the equitable distribution principals, but the military pension can’t be subject to divide unless the marriage lasted more than 10 years while the military member spouse was on active duty.
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Kentucky
If you are going to divorce an incarcerated spouse in Kentucky you must serve him/her with the divorce documents as in any usual divorce. You may deliver the papers by certified mail with return receipt.
If your spouse doesn’t contest the case it can be rather simple, but if he/she wants a litigation the so-called “guardian ad litem” may be appointed for your inmate spouse. You as a Petitioner may have to pay that attorney's fee.
Kentucky Divorce Filing Fee
A filing fee is a mandatory payment that is charged for the court services at the time of filing for divorce. You can pay it by certified check or money order or just in cash. An amount of a filing fee typically varies in different counties of the state. In Kentucky circuit courts, the divorce filing fee is between $113 and $200.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
Yes, a filing fee can be waived. If you really can’t afford to pay it you may request a fee waiver. In order to start this IFP (in forma pauperis) motion you should file a special form providing the court with a detailed data about your financial hardship (account statements and so on). If the court approves it you can be exempt from paying the filing fee.
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