Kentucky Divorce FAQ

Basic Questions

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.

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Can I get an annulment 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.

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Do I really need to hire an attorney?

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.

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What is a divorce going to cost me? Can I afford it?

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.

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What are the grounds for divorce in Kentucky?

Kentucky is a “no-fault” state, which means that a party does not have to show the other party is at fault, such as adultery, to obtain a divorce. The court is required to make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken before the court can enter a decree.

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Children, Support, and Property

How can I increase my chances at getting a larger custody agreement?

Your chances of gaining custody are increased by playing an active role in your children’s life and do not relinquish that time with your children. More often than not, one party will back away thinking that it will cause less conflict and that the children will be better off. Usually all that accomplishes is setting a pattern of any inactivity you may have in the children’s life.

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When can I modify custody?

Child custody is always modifiable. However, after the initial child custody determination, a party may only seek to modify within the first two years if the child’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being is at stake. After the two-year period, the court can modify custody if it is in the best interest of the child.

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Do grandparents have custody and visitation rights?

Possibly. In Kentucky, grandparents may file a petition to establish grandparent visitation. The court will then determine if it is in the best interest of the child to order such visitation.

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Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?

No, a parent may not refuse visitation if child support is not being paid. Child support is not a payment that ensures that a parent gets to see the child. If a parent does not pay child support, they may be held in contempt of court, but likewise, if a parent refuses to allow the other parent to see the child, they may also be held in contempt of court.

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If both parents share custody does anyone pay child support?

It is possible that even though you share custody one parent may still have to pay child support. Child support is intended to make both households as equal as possible. So even if it is joint custody, if one parent makes significantly more income than the other, they may have to pay child support.

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What is joint custody? What is sole custody?

Joint custody is where two parents share joint decision-making for the child, usually for major life decisions. For the everyday decisions affecting the child, usually the parent who is in possession of the child makes those decisions, but when a major life decision affects the child, such as surgery, education or religion, parents who are joint custodians must agree on those decisions.

Sole custody is where one parent is granted custody of the children and will be the sole decision maker for the children. They will decide where they live, what doctor to see, what school to attend, etc.

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Who will get custody of our child(ren)?

In Kentucky, the courts are required to determine custody based upon the best interest of the child(ren). Usually, parents will share joint custody of the children and if their schedules will allow, will share 50-50 parenting time with the children. However, depending upon various issues that may arise and other situations, this may not always be the case.

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Divorce Procedure

How and where is a divorce complaint filed?

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

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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.

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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.

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Do I have to go to court?

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.

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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.

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When can I file for divorce in Kentucky?

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.

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