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Divorce in Kentucky – FAQs About Kentucky Divorce Laws

Kentucky men’s divorce attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions with regards to divorce in Kentucky.Here are answers to frequently asked questions about divorce laws in Kentucky:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the grounds for divorce in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the grounds for divorce are “no-fault.” To file for divorce in Kentucky, neither party has to show that the other party is at fault, such as adultery. The Kentucky court is required to make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken before the court can enter a decree for a divorce.

Does Kentucky grant divorces based on marital fault?

Kentucky does not grant a divorce based on fault. The court is only required to make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court cannot consider why the marriage is broken in its determination.

How do I prove fault for divorce?

In Kentucky, neither party has to prove fault.

Can I get an annulment instead of a divorce in Kentucky?

The court can annul a marriage in only limited circumstances. The court may not annul a marriage because the parties made a mistake.

How much does divorce cost in KY?

Divorces are impossible for an attorney to price. Every case is different and will have different issues. Some of the cost of a divorce is attributable to how much the other party wants to fight. Every person needs to evaluate the cost of a divorce.

However, the results of a bad judgment or bad settlement can stay with a person for a long time, and in worst-case scenarios for the rest of your life.

Do I really need to hire an attorney for a divorce in Kentucky?

The only person who can determine if you need an attorney is yourself. However, the outcome of a divorce, whether it is a judgment or settlement can have lasting effects that you may not have considered. An experienced professional can help you see those effects and can take steps necessary to try and prevent them.

What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?

A court can attempt to help you through the process, but a judge cannot give out legal advice. There may be issues that need to be addressed by the court that could be left out without proper legal advice.

Is Kentucky an alimony state?

In Kentucky, alimony is an award that is solely at the discretion of the court. In order to award alimony, the court must make a finding that the party seeking alimony (1) lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs; and (2) is unable to support themselves through reasonable employment.

The court must find that both of these factors are met before it can order alimony payments.

Is Kentucky a 50-50 state when it comes to divorce?

Yes, Kentucky uses what are known as equitable distribution laws, to distribute assets in the case of divorce. However, there may be specific situations with extenuating circumstances, where a judge may distribute property differently, to achieve the fairest possible outcome.

Do the other issues – child support, child custody, alimony, and property – have to be decided before the divorce is final?

Usually a court in Kentucky will not enter a decree until all issues have been decided. Only in special circumstances will the court enter a temporary decree pending the final issues.

Can I change my name at the time of divorce?

At the time the decree is entered, the court can restore your previous name.

How long do you have to be separated to get a divorce in KY?

If you have resided in Kentucky for 180 days prior to the filing of the petition, then you would file the petition in the county in which you reside with the clerk of the court.

Will I have to go to court for a divorce in Kentucky?

Approximately 95% of all cases settle before a trial. If your case falls into this 95% then you may not ever step foot in a courtroom as it relates to your divorce. However, if your case does not settle and there needs to be a trial, you will have to go to court.

If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

There are several options available to a party if it is difficult to serve the other party. It is possible to use a sheriff or process server to serve the other party. If it is still difficult, then the court can appoint a warning order attorney to effectuate service of process.

That attorney will use their best efforts to serve the other party and the court will deem the party served even if the warning order attorney is ultimately unsuccessful.

At what point during the process can a spouse remarry or start dating?

Since Kentucky is a no-fault state a spouse can technically start dating at any point in the process. However, please be advised that if you are spending funds that are deemed marital on a new girlfriend or boyfriend an argument could be made that you are dissipating marital assets and you could be required to repay those funds to the marital estate.

You may not remarry until the court has entered your decree. If you marry prior to the entry of the decree, then your new marriage is void.

What if my spouse does not want the divorce?

Since Kentucky is a no-fault state it does not matter if one spouse does not want the divorce. The court is required to enter a decree if only one spouse desires the divorce.

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in Kentucky?

No, the only residency requirement is that a party resides in the state 180 days prior to the filing of the petition.

What if I am in the military and out of state?

If Kentucky is your home state, then it may be possible to file a petition in the state of Kentucky for dissolution of marriage. However, if you have children that have never resided in the state of Kentucky, Kentucky may lack jurisdiction to decide custody and you may need to file in the state in which the children reside.

What forms do I need to file for a divorce in Kentucky?

To begin the divorce process a party needs to file a Petition, Family Case Data Sheet, Civil Summons and a VS-300, which is a vital statistics form that is filed with the state.

How and where is a divorce complaint filed in Kentucky?

The petition is filed with the county clerk in the county in which you or your spouse resides.

How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse?

In Kentucky, many opposing parties are served through certified mail. If you are unable to obtain service through certified mail, then usually a sheriff will serve process. The timeframe to obtain a divorce is unpredictable. The minimum amount of time you have to wait is usually 60 days.

When is my case going to be over?

Each case is different and will take different amounts of time to complete. Some Kentucky counties have specific filing requirements and disclosures that must be filed. In addition, if children are involved, your county may require you to attend a parent education class during the divorce.

If these classes are not completed in a timely manner, this could delay the divorce process as well.

How is a divorce granted in Kentucky?

Typically, once all the issues have been resolved by order of the court or agreement of the parties, the court will enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which will make the divorce final.

At any time can a parent change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission?

No. In order to change the name of a minor child, one party must petition the court to do so and must provide notice to the child’s biological parent.

Is there common law marriage in KY?

No, Kentucky does not recognize common law marriage.

Frank Murphy

Edited By Frank Murphy

Chief Compliance Officer
Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is the Chief Compliance Officer and an Executive Partner at Cordell & Cordell. His responsibilities include oversight of the Firm’s compliance with Legal and Ethical obligations as well as contributing to the day-to-day operations of the Firm as an Executive Partner.

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