How to File Divorce in Kentucky

File Divorce in Kentucky

Kentucky is well known for fried chicken, bourbon, college basketball, and coal miners.  The state also suffers from extreme poverty, though, with as much as 19.4% of the population living in need.  That can be a huge strain on a marriage. If you are seeking to get divorced in Kentucky at minimal cost here are some basic facts you need to know.  

Spend a long time in Kentucky

Kentucky has a long residency requirement, which says that at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least 180 days (6 months) before filing for divorce.  That can be a long time to wait for someone new to the state that wants to get divorced fast.

Grounds for dissolution

In Kentucky, what most people call a divorce is actually called a “decree of dissolution.”  

Dissolution can only be granted on no-fault grounds, meaning neither spouse is trying to prove the other one committed any type of legal violation.  The couple simply wishes to split and go their separate ways.

The court must find that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which basically just means the couple wants to split and the court has no reason to think they will reconcile.  

The couple must live separately for at least 60 days before the dissolution can be granted.

If one spouse wants to stay married, the court can extend the process by pausing to allow the parties to get counseling or attend a conciliation conference.  One spouse cannot stop a divorce, though. If at least one spouse wants out the court will eventually grant the divorce.

Grounds for dissolution

Additional issues to be resolved

Kentucky law prevents a court from entering a decree of dissolution without first considering, approving, and making provision for child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and disposition of property.  

The dividing, or “disposition,” of the property is perhaps the most common item that needs to be settled along with a divorce.  The court will add up all the marital property first, which means anything either spouse acquired during the marriage except things like gifts and inheritance.  That marital property will then be split, usually equally. The court can split it unequally, though, after considering things like how much each spouse contributed, the value of the property each spouse is receiving, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse after the marriage ends.      

When it comes to custody, Kentucky assumes that the parents should share joint custody with equal parenting time.  There is a lot of research that shows contact with two parents is good for a child. That said, the court always has a responsibility to look after the best interests of the child.  

The court can consider factors like the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child, the relationship between the child and parents, the child’s proximity to school and community activities, and the mental health of everyone involved.  Things like where a child wants to go to school and what activities they want to do become more important over time and child custody can be adjusted until a child grows up.

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