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Divorce in Kentucky

Divorce in Kentucky



In the past decade, Kentucky’s divorce laws and regulations have undergone significant changes, reflecting the state’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework while prioritizing fairness, transparency, and the well-being of families involved in divorce proceedings. From property division to child custody, these modifications underscore Kentucky’s dedication to addressing the evolving needs of contemporary families. This article offers a concise overview of key updates in Kentucky’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, categorized by the year of implementation.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Simplification

   – Streamlined the process of obtaining a no-fault divorce by eliminating the requirement for a legal separation period.

2014: Child Custody Factors

   – Adoption of guidelines outlining factors to consider when determining child custody arrangements.

2015: Spousal Support Considerations

   – Establishment of clearer factors for courts to consider when awarding spousal support.

2016: Property Division Clarity

   – Enhanced guidelines for the equitable distribution of marital property, including assets and debts.

2017: Online Divorce Filing Option

   – Introduction of an online filing option to facilitate the divorce process and reduce paperwork.

2018: Parenting Plans Focus

   – Emphasis on detailed parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

2019: Shared Parenting Encouragement

   – Encouragement of shared parenting arrangements to ensure consistent involvement of both parents.

2020: Grandparent Visitation Rights

   – Acknowledgment and clarification of the rights of grandparents to seek visitation with their grandchildren.

2021: Domestic Violence Protections

   – Strengthening of provisions protecting victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022: Retirement Asset Division Guidelines

   – Establishment of guidelines for the division of retirement assets accumulated during the marriage.

2023: High-Conflict Divorce Resolution

   – Introduction of measures to address high-conflict divorces and minimize adversarial litigation.

Kentucky’s commitment to updating its divorce laws underscores the state’s forward-thinking approach to meeting the changing needs of families while upholding principles of justice and fairness. As Kentucky continues to adapt its legal landscape, it remains crucial for policymakers, stakeholders, and the public to engage in informed discussions that support families navigating the intricate process of divorce.

Residency and Filing Needs

There are some aspects of divorce in Kentucky that you need to know about before proceeding with anything. First off, if one spouse intends to file, that spouse will then be called the ‘Petitioner.’ The other spouse will be called the ‘Respondent’ in the matter.

Once divorce is eminent, there’s one requirement in the state of Kentucky that needs to be met before filing.

• Either party must be a Kentucky resident for at least 180 days prior to filing for divorce.

Reasons for Divorce in Kentucky

There are many reasons for it, but for the most part the court recognizes one simple stipulation:

• The Marriage Must Be “Irretrievably Broken”

In addition, the court requires that at least 60 days of willful separation be shown by both parties before a divorce is ordered.

The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”

Of course, both parties to a marriage may elect to “legally separate” instead of proceed through a divorce. What’s the difference?

A legal separation is essentially both parties agreeing to go their separate ways without dissolving the marriage. There are many reasons for doing this, one being the need to retain certain benefits within the marriage agreement that would otherwise be discontinued upon a divorce. For instance: medical insurance.

Typically, though, a legal separation does lead to a divorce agreement, in which case all grounds for divorce move forward, as well as the marriage then becomes dissolved in a court of law along with any other benefits and assets, questions of child custody, parenting time, and support (if children are in fact present).

The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Kentucky

Ten or twenty documents may be included in the proceeding, not limited to these:

• Verification

• Marital Settlement Agreement

• Affidavit Regarding the Children

• Request for Hearing

• Notice of Hearing

• Findings of Fact

• Conclusions of Law

• Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

• And Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

Divorce in Kentucky : Property Distribution

When it comes to divorce in Kentucky, it’s important to know that the state favors “equitable distribution.” This simply means that all assets are divided equally among both parties regardless of either party’s wishes. Sometimes, though, this doesn’t necessarily mean that “equitable” will be equal. Rather, the word fair is more the proper term to be used when dealing with property distribution.

Typically the court will encourage both the Petitioner and Respondent to come to an agreement about property distribution. If there’s no agreement, the court will decide.

In addition, the court may also award the wife her former or maiden name upon agreement of the divorce.

Divorce in Kentucky : On the Subject of Spousal Support

This issue may only be relevant if the court or both parties see a need for either party to support the other financially for any reason either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Divorce in Kentucky : Dealing With Child Custody

Generally speaking, parents can come to an agreement on this matter regarding divorce in Kentucky in several ways:

• Joint Physical Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

• Joint Legal Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

“Joint Physical Custody” is essentially sharing custody of the child(ren) in terms of where the child(ren) may live: either in mother’s residence, or father’s residence. Child(ren) retains two addresses. Both parties are equally responsible for the well-being of the child(ren) as well as for the education of the child(ren).

“Sole Physical Custody” is when one party retains physical custody of child(ren) and the other party retains “Visitation Rights.”

“Joint Legal Custody” is when both parents share the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren), which may include legal name, lifestyle, needs, etc. etc.

“Sole Legal Custody” is when only one parent retains the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren).

Divorce in Kentucky : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary

Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support. The Income Shares Model is employed to determine the amount. By combining W2’s and other worksheets, an amount is determined that would best suit the needs of the child(ren) without unfavorable financial problems on the non-custodial party.

Generally speaking, both parties may agree to an amount. But in the event that a Petitioner and Respondent don’t, the court may utilize state support guidelines to arrive to a decision as to how much support is necessary for the child(ren).