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Residency Requirements

The person filing for divorce must be a resident of Kentucky for 180 days, or he or she must have been a member of the military stationed in Kentucky for 180 days.

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If the residency requirements are fulfilled, then one of the spouses (from this point called the Petitioner) can file a petition for divorce. This petition places no blame on either party and simply explains and establishes who the parties are, where they lived, if the couple has any minor children, and why they separated (in Kentucky the only reason should be "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage"). This petition must be filed in the Circuit Court and it begins the divorce process.

The Petitioner then has the responsibility to serve the petition and the other necessary forms, including a Summons, to their spouse (the Respondent). The Respondent then has 20 days to file his or her answer to the Petition. The nature of the Respondent's answer and the couple's original agreement dictate the next steps in the divorce.

If the Respondent agrees with all the terms laid out in the Petition and does not contest the Petitioner's action for divorce, then he or she may file the Entry of Appearance Waiver in addition to a Divorce Settlement Agreement.  You can use Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process to complete your Divorce Settlement Agreement, which allows you to divide property, assets, debts and liabilities as well as settle matters of child support, custody and visitation. These forms allow the Respondent to avoid service because he or she agrees with the Petitioner completely. The settlement agreement and waiver explain the terms of division and distribution, and if the Petitioner and Respondent are in complete agreement then each one separately may file the Mandatory Case Disclosure. The disclosure stands as an overview for the court, explaining their debts and assets and the terms for divorce.

If the Respondent contests any of the terms laid out in the petition, the Petitioner must serve him or her using certified mail, a professional server, the sheriff or a warning order of attorney (meant for someone who has left the state of Kentucky). The Respondent must reply within 20 days of service with an answer outlining their stipulations. If the couple can reach agreement after the Respondent has said his or her piece, then the Petitioner files a Notice-Motion-Order to Schedule Hearing.

With the Notice Motion, the Petitioner files a deposition, a Finding of Fact and a Decree of Dissolution. The deposition explains the grounds of the no-fault divorce (or of the non-military allegiance, if there are conditions that would be considered grounds in another state, such as adultery); it also explains that an agreement has been reached. The Finding of Fact explains that the couple meets the resident requirements, the couple is in fact married, they have lived apart for 60 days, the marriage is broken, and there are no children. If there are minor children involved (under the age of 18), there are additional forms to complete. The court considers the well-being of the children first and foremost, which can change the divorce process.

A Note about These Instructions

While following these instructions does not guarantee you a divorce, it does provide a basic outline of the procedures that occur within the state of Kentucky. Because each county has different rules for divorce, it would be in your best interest to hire a lawyer or go to the county Clerk's office and make sure you have all the correct forms. Each county in Kentucky has its own standard procedures and the makeup of your no fault divorce could change depending on where it is filed.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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