Kentucky divorce details
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Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in Kentucky
There are two main ways to arrange your divorce: contested or uncontested. A contested divorce implies that there is a disagreement between the spouses on the terms of the divorce. In cases like this, they will need to go to court in order to resolve all the issues. Contested divorces can be very time consuming as there be many courts trials to attend to. They are also quite expensive because of the need to hire attorneys. Generally, it is the way how most people imagine a divorce process will look like.
On the other hand, uncontested divorces are much simpler and easier. It is when the spouses have come to an agreement on all the terms of the divorce. As a result, there are no grueling trials nor the need to hire attorneys.
Uncontested Divorce in Kentucky
There are certain conditions to file for an uncontested divorce in Kentucky:
- The spouses have to go through a 60-day waiting period before getting a divorce. This means that they must be separated during this period.
- The wife mustn’t be pregnant at the time of filing for divorce. If she is, the divorce proceeding will be postponed until the baby is born.
However, the main feature of an uncontested divorce is the opportunity for the spouses to create their own Marital Settlement Agreement that satisfy both of them. This document contains all the terms of the divorce.
In addition, if the spouses have any difficulty with their uncontested case or Settlement Agreement, they can seek out a divorce mediation session. This is a cheaper alternative to attorney assistance that has been growing in popularity.
Grounds for Divorce in Kentucky
Kentucky is a no-fault state. This means that in order to file for a divorce, there is no need to point out any reason other than the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”. This no-fault ground is enough reason to file for divorce in Kentucky.
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Kentucky Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
You or your spouse must meet the following residency requirements in order to file for divorce in Kentucky:
- Be a resident of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for at least 180 days prior to filing the Petition.
- Be stationed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an active military member for at least 180 days prior to filing the Petition.
Note that residency must be proved before the court by an appropriate witness.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Kentucky?
Here are the basic steps you need to follow to file for an uncontested divorce in Kentucky:
- Complete the Petition for divorce in a proper circuit court of your county.
- Pay the court fees at the court clerk’s office. This fee covers the court services.
- Serve your spouse with copies of the Petition other divorce paperwork through the sheriff’s deputy or private process server. This 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 is a 60-day waiting period from the time of your separation to the date of your divorce (separation may start before the filing date). Most couples use this time to work on their Marital Settlement Agreement and attend mediation sessions.
- Attend the final hearing. It is a pretty cut and dried. One of the spouses should provide 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 that you can successfully negotiate all the terms of the divorce with your spouse, you can try to obtain a DIY divorce. This process refers to when you complete all the steps of the divorce without any legal assistance.
This may be difficult to complete on your own as you will have to learn all the small nuances of the state and county laws that affect your case. You will also need to select the correct forms and fill them out accurately, or else risk facing rejection from the court. You can omit many of these issues if you turn to the help of online services. Services like us specialize in uncontested cases. For just $149, we prepare all the required documents you need to file for divorce. After this, all you need to take is the take the prepared forms and file them at court.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
Generally, the initial cost of an uncontested divorce is determined by the filing fee which may vary between $113 - $200, depending on the county. Additional costs may include fees associated with serving your spouse, mediator fees, and fees for “Families in Transition” classes (if you have any children). Furthermore, the flat fee to hire an attorney in Kentucky starts from $500.
How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Kentucky?
There is the mandatory 60-day waiting period of separation. If the separation started earlier than the date the Petition is filed, the overall wait time will reduce respectively.
On average, an uncontested divorce in Kentucky takes between 90 and 90 days to finalize the case.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Kentucky
As the Petitioner, you have 45 to serve your spouse with the divorce paperwork after you file the Petition. There are two ways in Kentucky to do this:
- By registered mail (send the documents from the courthouse).
- By Sheriff service (the Sheriff delivers the copies directly to your spouse).
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Kentucky
The documents you need will vary depending on your specific case. Below is a list of the basic forms that you have to fill out to file for divorce in Kansas:
- 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)
Online Divorce in Kentucky
Online services like ours customize all the required documents that fit the needs of your individual case and all you need to do is file them at the court. This is a very efficient method that can also help you save a lot of money. You can rest assured that they will be approved by the court. In addition, we can review the forms and provide online advice in terms of next steps.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Kentucky
Kentucky law assumes that both parents are responsible for supporting their children. The main custodial parent contributes to the everyday care of the child while the other non-custodial parent compensates through providing payments in the form of child support. The amount of support is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines of the state. The number of children and the total combined income of the parents are taken into consideration when making the decision. However, with the court’s consent, the parents may calculate and agree on the amount of payment on their own without using the recommended guidelines.
Custody of the child can both be sole or join, depending on the case. Since last year, there has been an increase in popularity of joint custody, also referred to as shared parenting. This means that in the majority of cases, both parents have equal rights in terms of spending time with the child and making important life decisions.
Surely, the court will take into consideration many different factors when making a decision on shared parenting. Joint custody is recognized as an option that best meets the interests of the child.
Rules for Spousal Support in Kentucky
Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is temporary or permanent payment made from one spouse to the other. The main idea of it is to help the more dependent spouse to support themselves after the divorce. The requesting spouse must provide evidence to prove that they will indeed, require financial assistance. The court will take into consideration different factors such as both spouses’ income and earning potentials when making a decision regarding alimony.
In Kentucky, there are three types of spousal maintenance:
- Temporary Maintenance. This is a short time payment made during the process of dissolution in order to help compensate for the associate costs of the divorce.
- Rehabilitative maintenance. This is the most “popular” type of alimony, usually awarded for a term equal to half the length of marriage. These payments provide the more dependent spouse with the opportunity to become self-sufficient after the divorce.
- Permanent maintenance. This type of alimony is very rare and is not awarded unless the marriage lasted for more than 10 years.In addition, the court considers more seriously whether the spouse really needs this much financial support. A valid reason for permanent maintenance is if the spouse has a health condition that prevents them from working.
Division of Property in Kentucky
Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, so property is divided in a just way at the court’s discretion.
“Equitable” does not necessarily mean completely "equal" as the court takes into consideration many different factors when examining each case such as: 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.
Regardless, it is important to distinguish between marital and separate property. Under the "equitable distribution" rules, only marital property is subject to division during a divorce.
- Separate property refers to all property, gifts, and inheritances that the spouses individually owned prior to the marriage. This includes any profit that was gained from the sale/exchange of separate property during marriage.
- Marital property includes all property and assets that were gained during the marriage. Regardless of whose name a property is under, it is still classified as marital property. Any property that increased in value due to both spouses’ contribution is also considered marital property.
If the spouses have a Premarital Agreement, the property must be divided under its terms.
Division of Debt in Kentucky
Marital debt is also divided much like marital property. The court takes into consideration certain factors such as: liabilities and financial conditions of each spouse, reasons for the debt, and owners of the debt.
As a result, even joint debt may be ordered to be paid by one spouse if it they are solely responsible for it.
Divorce Mediation in Kentucky
Divorce mediation is considered as an alternative to avoid litigation.They are aimed at helping a couple negotiate and come to terms with the issues of divorce. A third party mediator facilitates the meeting and eventually helps the couple create a Marital Agreement Settlement.
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How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Kentucky
If your spouse is missing, you may file for Divorce by Publication. In such a case, the court appoints a “warning order attorney”. You should file the Affidavit for Warning Order Attorney form to request this service.
The warning order attorney will attempt to locate your spouse based on information of their last known address along with any other information you provide them with. The specialist has 50 days to search for your spouse and prepare a report describing the efforts they made. If the spouse is located, they will be served with the Petition and Summons. However, if they still turn out to be missing, you will be granted a service by publication.
The notice of your case must be published in the local newspaper of the county where you file for the divorce. After a certain time period, the divorce will be granted by the court even without your spouse’s participation.
Default Divorce in Kentucky
Generally, divorce by publication is considered a default divorce because it assumes that the non-filing spouse failed to respond to the Petition. Whether it is impossible to serve your spouse or they were served but refuses to answer - both are considered a default divorce.
One you serve your spouse with the Summons, they have 20 days to respond. After this period, you can file a Motion for Default Judgement and notarize it with the court clerk in order to start a default divorce without your spouse.
Annulment of the Marriage in Kentucky
Annulment is the process that recognizes a marriage as void, or as it never existed. There are several grounds for annulment of marriage:
- Incapacity (one of the spouses was too incapacitated to give consent at the time of marriage registration)
- Consent to the marriage obtained by duress
- Fraud (one of the spouses lied about the terms of the divorce)
- Underaged marriage (one of the spouses was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage registration)
Legal Separation in Kentucky
The process of legal separation is quite similar to a divorce, aside from the fact that the spouses are still considered to be legally married. They are also not allowed to remarry until they receive an official divorce.
Legal separation still rules on the issues regarding property division, child custody & visitation, spousal support, and others. In order to file for legal separation, you need to file a special Petition that your spouse also agrees with. With the court’s approval, you can request to change the “Legal Separation Decree” into a “Divorce Decree”. However, you can only do this after 365 since the legal separation was obtained.
Oftentimes, couples choose legal separation because they have hope that they will reconcile someday. For others, it is because of religious or financial reasons.
Same-Sex Divorce in Kentucky
Same-sex marriage and divorce were recognized in the state of Kentucky since the relevant Supreme Court ruling in 2015.
This ruling declared gay marriage as a constitutional right, so now, same-gender couples have the same rights and are required to go through the exact same steps of the divorce process as straight couples.
However, Kentucky is still quite famous for the intolerant views of some judges, and scandals associated with discrimination against LGBT still periodoically break out in the state. So unfortunately, in some cases (depending on the county, court, judge, and case specificity), you may need a qualified attorney for your divorce to help fight against the prejudice.
In addition, Kentucky does not recognize common law marriages.
Military Divorce in Kentucky
The residency requirements to file for military divorce are the same as for civil divorce except for one part: the filing spouse should reside in Kentucky or be stationed in a military base there for at least 180 days prior to filing the Petition.
All military members are protected from default judgement by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The divorce case may also be postponed for the whole time the military spouse is on active duty and up to 60 days after that in order to give them enough time to sort out all the issues of the divorce.
Furthermore, the military pension is not subject to division unless the marriage lasted for more than 10 years while the military spouse was on active duty.
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Kentucky
In order to divorce a spouse in jail, you must serve them with the divorce documents as in any other divorce case. You may deliver the papers by certified mail with a return receipt.
If your spouse decides not to contest the case, the process can be quite simple. However, if she wants litigation, the so-called “guardian ad litem” may be appointed for them. As the Petitioner, you may have to pay the applicable attorney’s fee.
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Kentucky Divorce Filing Fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
The filing fee may be waived if you are financially unable to afford it. In order to start this IFP (in forma pauperis) motion, you must file a special form providing the court with detailed information regarding your financial difficulty (such as bank account statement). If the court approves your request, the filing fee will be waived.
How We Can Help
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