Kentucky Uncontested Divorce

This information is an overview of the uncontested Kentucky divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Kentucky.

To file for a dissolution in Kentucky, the filing spouse must be a resident of the state for 180 days before beginning the action. The same applies to military personnel stationed in the state. The action may be filed in a county where either spouse resides.

Kentucky is a No-Fault state. Irretrievable breakdown is the only grounds for divorce, and the dissolution is not granted until the couple have lived apart for 60 days.

Actions are filed in the Circuit Court. The filing spouse is called the Petitioner; the responding spouse is called the Respondent.

Legal separations are permitted on the same grounds as marital dissolutions, with the same residency requirements.

Here are the required steps for filing a dissolution in Louisville, Jefferson County, and they follow the pattern for the entire state.

To file for a dissolution in Kentucky in a marriage without minor children, the Petitioner must file the following forms:

> A Petition, which identifies the parties, their residences, establishes their separation date and that there are no children under 18 and asks for the desired relief;

> A Certificate of Divorce, VS-300 form, which must be obtained from the Circuit Clerk and records the dissolution for the Commonwealth’s vital statistics;

> A Case Information Sheet, which identifies all the parties in the action;

> A Summons, which informs the Respondent that he or she has 20 days to file an answer or face a default judgment against him or her, unless the Respondent agrees to sign an Entry of Appearance Waiver;

> An Entry of Appearance Waiver, by which he or she agrees to the dissolution and does not contest the action. In this event, the Entry of Appearance Waiver as well as a Marital Settlement Agreement, which spells out the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of the marital estate, are filed at the same time. When the Respondent spouse signs the Entry of Appearance Waiver, he or she does not receive a Summons. If the couple are in agreement, each spouse may file the Mandatory Case Disclosure;

> The Mandatory Case Disclosure, which gives the court an overview of the spouses assets and debts and to which the Respondent may agree in an Acknowledgment.

If the Respondent will not sign an Entry of Appearance Waiver, he or she must be served the Summons and Petition by one of the following:

> Certified Mail, restricted delivery, from the mail room at the courthouse;

> The Sheriff, who delivers the divorce papers;

> A Warning Order Attorney, which is used when the Respondent has left Kentucky to avoid service of process, or when the Petitioner does not know "any means to find the address of the other party."

After all the above filing have been made and if the couple is in agreement, the Petitioner may file a Notice-Motion-Order to Schedule Hearing. To finalize the action, the Petitioner must also file the following:

> The Deposition of the Petitioner, which establishes a) the grounds, b) that neither spouse is in the military, c) that the Respondent is in default or that a marital agreement has been reached;

> The Findings of Fact, which establishes that a) the residency requirements have been met, b) that the parties are lawfully married, c) that they have lived apart for 60 days, d) that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," e) there are no children and the wife is not pregnant and that f) a marital settlement agreement has been filed and is "not unconscionable";

> A Decree of Dissolution, which ends the marriage when signed by the judge.

If the Respondent fails to answer, the Petitioner must file a Motion for Default Judgement and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (with Default Judgment Entered).

To file for a dissolution in Kentucky in a marriage with minor children, the Petitioner must file all of the following forms used in a dissolution of a marriage without children. However, the forms for the Petition, the Mandatory Case Disclosure, the Marital Settlement Agreement and the Finding of Fact and Decree of Dissolution for couples with children contain additional information and are different than the same forms used by couples without children.

Couples with minor children may be required to take the Families in Transition (FIT) as part of the divorce filing.