The decision to divorce comes after considerable stress and thought. After deciding to divorce your spouse, you want the marriage dissolution process to be straightforward. Fortunately, Kentucky has “no-fault” divorce grounds. It means you do not have to prove that your spouse has done something wrong to divorce. You only need to prove to the court that your marriage is “irretrievably broken
.” So, the role of the court is to check whether your marriage is irretrievably broken. If that is the case, it will enter a decree for divorce. This guide will help you avoid the stress associated with filing for divorce in Kentucky
Kentucky Divorce Forms and Papers
The papers and forms you must fill out will largely depend on whether you are dealing with a contested or uncontested divorce
. You can find many of the forms on the Kentucky Court of Justice website. But the question arises of how to fill them out.
For couples who agree to an uncontested divorce, there is good news! Some services offer online form preparation. The client answers questions about their marriage on the website, after which the system selects the appropriate forms and fills them out.
Such services are referred to as online divorce. Within 2 business days, the client will receive completed papers, ready to file with the court. A significant advantage is that this does not require a lawyer, which means that spouses can significantly save money.
Filing for Divorce Online
Online divorce is a fast and stress-free method for those who meet the requirements of an uncontested divorce. This requires you and your spouse to agree on various issues such as property separation
, alimony, and the life of your children. If you agree on the issues, you have the option to manage your divorce without the need for a lawyer.
You can fill out the necessary divorce forms online and submit them to the county clerk. Many third-party sites allow you to handle divorce papers easily. After filling out an online questionnaire about your divorce, the site will select and complete all the forms for you. Many will even give you instructions on filing them with the court or offer to file them for you for an additional fee.
If you and your spouse have any unsettled issues but want to have an uncontested divorce, divorce mediation is a good option. But if the situation is more complicated, you may need the services of an attorney.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce Forms and Papers
Contested divorce arises when you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your dissolution. On the other hand, uncontested divorces occur when the spouses can sit down together and agree on parenting privileges, property division, and other key issues.
In the case of a contested divorce, you will have to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and contact a divorce attorney. A contested divorce can be frustrating. So you will require a person who can answer all your questions and protect your rights at court hearings.
In an uncontested divorce, you will have to file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. After that, you will have to draft the marital settlement agreement with your spouse. The document should outline the decisions you make about your debts, property division, and parenting responsibilities.
Filing Your Divorce Papers in Kentucky
After completing the required divorce papers online, you will have to print the original set and two additional copies. The law requires you to present one set to the clerk in your county, another to your spouse, and keep one for yourself.
Call the court clerk before driving to the court to be sure that you have the right forms. Further, the clerk will tell you whether you have provided all the needed information. Do not sign the divorce papers unless a notary is present. Courts only accept notarized forms. The good news is most Kentucky courts have a notary, and you will not need to pay one.
If you have filled out all the forms correctly, you will have to take them to the clerk for filing. The clerk will stamp the papers and file them after you pay the fee. If you cannot afford the divorce filing fee, you can request to have it waived.
Serving Your Divorce Papers in Kentucky
After filing your documents, the clerk will inform you that you have to serve your spouse with copies of the same documents within 45 days. Start the process immediately to avoid delays. The best and easiest way to serve the divorce documents to your spouse is by taking them to him/her directly. Ask them to sign the verification of receipt form and take the papers back to the clerk.
Nevertheless, if you are not on good terms with your spouse, or serving the documents directly is impossible, you will have to send them through registered mail. Alternatively, you can hire a sheriff for the delivery part. The sheriff will provide you with the signed verification of receipt form for court filing.
If you are already in agreement with your spouse on all essential matters, the divorce process may take less than 60 days.
The Cost of Divorce in Kentucky
It is hard to put an exact price on a divorce in Kentucky. Kentucky courts will charge you $113 for the divorce filing. They will require you to pay the amount in cash, by money order, or certified check. But you should expect other legal charges, particularly if you need to hire an attorney.
Every case is unique, and it will have its issues. The cost is attributable to how much your spouse is willing to fight and the amount your attorney charges. Keep in mind that a bad settlement or judgment will stay with you for a long time. In the worst scenarios, it will affect your whole life. So, you need the best legal services.
After agreeing on everything with your spouse and handing the agreement to a court, the court will make a ruling ending the marriage. The ruling will include an order about dividing your marital debts and property, custody, child support, and visitation.
There will be no need to go to court for a hearing because your attorney will handle the paperwork. But if you and your contested spouse cannot agree, the court will have a final hearing.