How to File for Divorce in KY

What happens if nothing has worked to reconcile your relationship or you know you are ready to begin a legal proceeding?  How do you file your Divorce in Kentucky?

First, you must know some basic information.  Did you live in Kentucky for more than 180 days before you file your Petition?  Were you both 18 or older before you married?  Is your marriage irretrievably broken?  Are you and/or your spouse expecting a child?  In which County does your marriage “reside”?

There are, of course, 120 counties in Kentucky.  Each has a Circuit Court Clerk.  The Clerk is the official who (usually through a Deputy) receives your Petition.  Kentucky Family Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction (read the legal authority) to dissolve your marriage unless you live in Kentucky for more than 180 days when you file your Petition.

Except in certain circumstances, you must be 18 or older to marry.  If you wondered why your Petition says how old you are, that is the reason for setting out your age.

We are a no fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to ascribe blame to the dissolution of your marriage.  Either party merely need state that they believe their marriage is irretrievably broken.

If you are married and you and/or your spouse are expecting a child, you may file a Petition, but no divorce will be granted prior to the conclusion of the pregnancy.  Any child born during a marriage is presumed to be of the marriage.  For that reason, Family Court will not grant a Decree that calls parentage into question.

Finally, unless you and your spouse agree otherwise, you must file your Petition in the County in which the marriage usually resides.  This is a concept called venue.  County of usual residence is, frankly, construed broadly.  If your spouse moved out and rented an apartment over the county line yesterday, the new county probably qualifies.

Once you know your basic information, then you prepare a Petition.  The Petition consists of your factual allegations, a Prayer for Relief, and a Sworn Verification by the Petitioner.

The facts which the Petition alleges are those described above.  If you have children, you must identify the children by initials and age, state their place(s) of residence for the last 5 years, whether there are any other individuals (or entity if the State has temporary custody) who have a claim to custody, and whether there is any other proceeding in which custody of the children is an issue.

The Prayer for Relief or Demand is that portion of your Petition in which you outline the Relief you want from Kentucky Family Court.  Typically, the Prayer for Relief includes a request that the marriage be dissolved and a demand for joint or sole custody, temporary and permanent child and spousal support, restoration of nonmarital property, an equitable division of marital property, assignment of responsibility for indebtedness, and a contribution towards or reimbursement of fees and costs.

Finally, the Petitioner must verify the factual allegations being made.  This is not required in most other Petitions or Complaints with our Courts.

With your Petition you must file, at a minimum, a VS-300, Case Data Sheet and Summons.  The VS-300 goes to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office at the conclusion of the case.  VS stands for “Vital Statistics”.  If you ever wondered how researchers find out divorce rates, this is how.

The Case Data Sheet is an emergency contact form for the Court.  It is a “just in case” form.

Finally, the Court must issue a Summons.  The Summons, once served on your spouse, invokes the Personal Jurisdiction of the Court (read authority of the Judge to issue rulings which affect individuals).

If you think you need to file a Petition to Dissolve your Marriage, please call your Louisville Divorce Lawyer.  Also, please feel free to learn more at jrlloydlaw.com or thelouisvilledivorceattorney.com or thelouisvilledivorcelawyer.com if you are not ready to talk.  Thanks for reading.