How to File Divorce in Kansas

File Divorce in Kansas

In the famous movie The Wizard of Oz, the lead character, Dorothy, famously says “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  If you feel like you cannot spend any more time in your marriage in Kansas, here are some things you need to know.

Residency required

Either you or your spouse must live in Kansas for 60 days before filing a petition for divorce in the state.  

Grounds for divorce

Most Kansas divorces will be granted on the basis of “incompatibility.”  

This is a “no-fault” divorce, meaning neither spouse did anything legally wrong, they just both want to go their separate ways.  A divorce can also be granted in Kansas for a failure to perform a material duty or obligation, or incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity.  There is rarely any reason to go through the trouble of proving one of those other grounds, though.

Petitioning for divorce

The Kansas court system has helped develop forms that can be used to file for divorce.  

For a couple with no children, the paperwork is simple.  A petitioner simply has to fill in his or her address, explain when the marriage took place, state they have no children, and request spousal support if desired.  With children, it is slightly more complicated.  The petitioner also has to include an extensive amount of information on where the children have lived.

Petitioning for divorce

Children and money

When dividing up money (and other assets), the court will first try to find the value of a couple’s marital assets, usually at the time of separation.  Marital property is anything that either spouse acquired during the marriage, except for things like gifts and inheritance. The court will then divide it up.  This can be done a number of ways. Some things can literally be divided like each spouse could get one of the family’s two cars. Other things are more complicated.  One spouse might be forced to buy out the other spouse’s interest in a family business, for example.

When dividing up the property, the court must consider a number of factors.  This includes the ages of the spouses, the duration of their marriage, the property they owned, their earning capacities, the source of the property, their family obligations, and whether spousal maintenance is going to be ordered.  

Courts will also typically order custody and possibly child support at the time of divorce.  The couple will often come to an agreement on what works best and submit their agreement to the judge for approval.  Otherwise, it can be a tough experience for a judge to try and set complex rules for the day-to-day life of a growing child.  

The judge can also allow visitation for a parent that does not have custody.  Child support can be awarded to one of the parents, typically the one that makes less money or that has the child for a greater period of time.  Kentucky offers an online calculator to help estimate payments based on this formula, which a judge can alter, but usually will not.   

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