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How to File For Divorce in Kentucky

Filing for divorce in Kentucky means that a married couple has decided to dissolve their marriage. It also has to do with the division of assets & liabilities and resolving matters concerning the children (minors). The Kentucky Family Courts possess the constitutional power to handle all divorce cases in the state.

To file for divorce in Kentucky, either couple must have been residents in the state for at least 180 days. It is also expected that the couples are separated for at least 60days before the court can begin proceedings.

The court charges a total of $113 as a filing fee for a divorce case. This amount varies from county to county. A petitioner may check with the office of the local court clerk to get the exact amount. But if a person cannot afford to pay the fee for divorce, such person can file a motion to waive the fee. The motion for waiving the filing fee for divorce in Kentucky is known as an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) motion. The presiding judge can decide whether or not a requester is qualified for IFP. Once a requester is eligible for IFP, such a person does not have to pay to file for divorce.

Do I Need a Reason for Divorce in Kentucky?

Kentucky is one of the no-fault states in the country. This implies that a person cannot request for a dissolution based on what the other partner did or did not do. Section 403.170 of the Kentucky Codes explains that the only acceptable reason for the dissolution of marriage is- Irretrievable breakdown. That implies that there is no possibility of reconciliation for the couples.

Suppose the other partner denies under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In that case, the court will have to consider all factors that prompted the petition’s filing and then decide at the end of the day to either suggest that the couples seek counseling or dissolve the marriage.

Why do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Although the divorce procedure is uncomplicated in Kentucky, there is a need for a petitioner to employ a legal practitioner’s service.

A lawyer can help provide the proper counsel regarding the state’s Statutes Codes on marriage dissolution. A lawyer can assist a petitioner in the case where the other spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken under oath. A lawyer can also help the client receive a fair judgment in sharing assets and liabilities, child custody, and alimony. In a situation where the other party is trying to make things difficult, a lawyer can help get the divorce case over as quickly as possible to help reduce the stress caused by the separation.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Kentucky?

The first step to take is to begin the divorce proceeding. It starts with filing a divorce petition containing the necessary information to identify the partners, residents, jobs, and children. A petitioner without an attorney can use the help of the Pro Se Divorce packets. Those are obtainable from the office of the Court Clerk at a specific price.

After filling all the necessary forms, the petitioner must serve the respondent the petition and summons either by mailing from the courthouse or sending the Sheriff to serve the respondent. The respondent must file for preliminary case disclosure within 45 days of being served. So also, the petitioner must file for preliminary case disclosure within 45 days of filing the petition. If children are involved, then the couples must attend a Family in Transition program- this program is named differently in each county.

How to File for Divorce in Kentucky Without a Lawyer?

To start the divorce process without a lawyer, the petitioner should follow the steps below;

Step 1: Begin the divorce proceeding by obtaining the necessary forms after filing the divorce petition. It is helpful to get the Pro Se Divorce packets- this refers to the complete packet of divorce papers- for a petitioner without an attorney. It contains the petition form, Case Information Data Sheet, and the Certificate of Divorce. Alternatively, the forms can be filled on a computer system. Submit the forms to the Clerk of court after filling to get them stamped.

Step 2: Serve the copies of the forms to the respondent. In Kentucky, the petitioner has 45 days after filing to serve the documents to the respondent; otherwise, the case will be dismissed automatically. However, there are different rules for a spouse that is in the military, or in a place that is hard to get, or someone serving a jail sentence.

Step 3: File for Preliminary Case Disclosure. Both the petitioner and the respondent have 45 days to file for this. The Preliminary Case Disclosure includes details of all income and expenditures, assets, and liabilities. Documents like stubs, tax returns, etc., can be attached to the Preliminary Case Disclosure so that the court can understand each of the couples’ financial status.

Step 4: The petitioner can begin the initial motion for child custody, visitation, or child support, for couples with children. The state of Kentucky recognizes only two types of custody; joint and Sole custody. The type of custody is determined based on certain factors as contained in the Kentucky Revised Statutes 403.270

However, child custody, visitation, and child support may be agreed upon by the parent, resolved by a mediator, or decided by the judge.

Step 5: The division of the property. Having filed the Preliminary Case Disclosure, the next line of action is how the properties are shared between the parties. However, properties acquired before the marriage will remain with the original owner.

Step 6: Set motion for the maintenance and cost of the legal proceedings of the divorce case. The factors that decide who bears the cost and mode of payment are stated in KRS 402.200.

Step 7: Wrapping up the divorce proceedings. In finishing the divorce proceeding, there are several documents signed by either party, both or the judge.

How Does Kentucky Divorce Mediation Work?

Mediation is the fastest way to resolve disputes between spouses. Mediation is also known as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and is effective in the quick, mutual, and amicable dissolution of the marriage. Mediation is necessary when there is no mutual agreement between the petitioner and the respondent. When there is a lot of disagreement over many issues concerning child custody, visitation, support, or disagreement over sharing the assets and liabilities, the court will mandate that the couple goes through mediation session(s).

A mediator’s job is to bring the parties to a mutual agreement. The mediator helps to promote constructive dialogue. With each of the parties’ lawyers present, it becomes easier to reach a mutual conclusion quickly. Mediators are not legal advisors and have no authority to play that role. The mediator can also not make binding decisions on the parties.

A mediator does not necessarily have to be a lawyer. It is very helpful to have different professionals playing the role of a mediator for a divorce case.

To be included in the Administrative Office of the Court’s Roaster of Mediators, a person must get specific training like any Continuing Mediation Education (CME). To be on the roaster, a mediator must;

  • Have been engaged in a mediation practice before the adoption of the Guideline on April 15, 2005.
  • Have completed and submitted the Application to be Place in the Mediation Roaster.
  • Have added a written statement that describes training and experience in mediation.

In Kentucky, a mediator charges about $125 to $200 per hour. The mediation cost is divided between the parties at the end of the session. But before the session, the petitioner and respondent are made to sign a mediation agreement before the mediator begins the mediating role. Most times, the mediation cost is less than the cost of litigation in situations where the parties have a lot of disagreement.

In Kentucky, at least 60% of all Family cases are settled through mediation. Only 21% of parties cannot resolve anything, and 19% can achieve a partial settlement.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Kentucky?

Divorce cases are resolved much faster with the help of mediation. More so, mediation reduces the stress associated with the long process of divorce by limiting the time spent on a never-ending argument. Through mediation, most parents learn the most effective mode of communication.

Once the matters that may prompt an argument in the courtroom are settled through mediation, the next process will be to bring the divorce case to an end by signing all the necessary documents. After that, the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution, and then the divorce process ends.

Are Divorce Records Public in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, divorce records are public records based on the Open Record Act; any interested person may inspect the record irrespective of the person’s identity and if such person can apply for the enforcement of the act if access was denied. Therefore there is no eligibility requirement before any member of the public is granted access.

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 person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from 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 Kentucky Divorce Records?

To get Kentucky Divorce records, a requester may visit the County Clerk’s office where the divorce took place. Alternatively, the requester may check the State Vital Statistics Office where a Central Repository of the state’s divorce records is maintained. To obtain divorce records, an interested person needs to write a request that will state;

  • The full names of the parties involved
  • The date and the place where the divorce was granted
  • The name and contact of the requester
  • The mailing address of the requester

The written request must be enclosed with a check of $6 or a money order payment of the same amount for each certified copy of the divorce record. The request can either be made in person or by mail to the address below:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 E. Main St. 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621

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