Kentucky Court Records
The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Kentucky
Kentucky recognizes the civil union between a man and a woman under state laws. However, the state also allows couples to petition the judiciary for a divorce or annulment; either action restores both parties to their premarital social status. Court administrators also keep records regarding marriages, divorces, and annulments that happen within state jurisdiction. These records are available to the public unless the court or a statute states otherwise.
What is a Kentucky Divorce Decree?
A divorce decree is a document that a family court judge issues upon adjudicating a complaint for divorce (dissolution of marriage). The official document declares that the court has dissolved the civil union between a couple. Consequently, divorced individuals may remarry (KRS § 403.010)..
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
What is an Annulment in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, an annulment is called a declaration of invalidity of marriage (KRS § 403.120).. A family court can only annul a marriage on three grounds outlined in paragraph one of the statute. Annulment records are public records pursuant to the Kentucky open records act (KORA). However, these records are only accessible at the office of the circuit clerk, where the plaintiff initiated the proceedings.
Annulment vs. Divorce in Kentucky
Divorce and annulment share a few characteristics, even as both actions are very different. On one hand, both actions restore the man and woman to their social status, personal rights, and legal capacities before the marriage. Both legal actions free the parties from the bonds of matrimony, and either party may initiate the actions, which follow Courts’ Rule of Practice.
On the other hand, with an annulment, the court declares that a marriage was never valid from the onset; a divorce, however, recognizes the marriage before the court freed the couple from the bonds of matrimony. Furthermore, both actions are subject to unique statutory requirements. For instance, either spouse may initiate the suit for divorce at any time. However, a spouse has a statutory window of ninety days during which he/she must initiate the petition for annulment (KRS § 403.120(2))..
Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce In Kentucky?
No. The fees for processing a joint petition for annulment are generally higher than the cost of filing a joint petition for divorce in Kentucky. For example, the filing fee for an uncontested divorce in Jefferson County is an average of $150. Furthermore, the respondent typically waives the right to service; thus, the petitioner does not have to pay the service fee. However, a person filing a joint petition for annulment incurs more costs due to attorney fees, investigation fees, and other court fees.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Kentucky?
An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree on the grounds for divorce as well as other issues such as child support, child custody, alimony as well as the division of financial assets and debts. Here, the petitioner submits—and the respondent agrees to—a divorce based on irreconcilable differences per KRS 403.170.
Where to Get an Uncontested Divorce Form in Kentucky
To get an uncontested divorce form, visit the office of the clerk of the circuit court. Before initiating a divorce action, however, one of the spouses must have resided in Kentucky for at least 180 days (KRS 403.140 (1)(a)).. Furthermore, both spouses must have lived apart, and without sexual cohabitation, for at least sixty days (KRS 403.170(1)).. The clerk of courts will provide the relevant divorce forms upon request from the petitioner.
Meanwhile, both spouses must have reached a settlement agreement, which the petitioner must attach to the divorce paperwork. The judge will grant a decree of absolute divorce after reviewing the paperwork.
Generally, divorce records are public records. However, the court must restrict access to the contents of a settlement agreement and other documents that contain personal identifiers per KRS 403.135. These include information on minors, dates of birth, and financial information.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How Do I Get A Copy Of My Divorce Decree In Kentucky?
To get a copy of a divorce decree, visit the court that adjudicated the divorce filing in person and during business hours. The Kentucky judiciary provides a directory with the location and contact information of family courts in the state. At the court, locate the office of the clerk of courts and submit a formal request for the divorce decree. The requester must provide the necessary details to help the court staff find the divorce decree. These include the names of the divorcees and the date of decree. Furthermore, he or she must pay the applicable copying fees and additional fees for certifying the divorce decree.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Get a Kentucky Divorce Decree Online?
By itself, the Kentucky Judiciary does not process online requests for divorce decrees as of December 2020. Thus, all requests for divorce decrees must be in person and during business hours.