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Kansas Divorce Laws
Residency and Filing Requirements:In order to file for a divorce in Kansas, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:
The petitioner or respondent in an action for divorce must have been an actual resident of the state for 60 days immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
Military residence. Any person who has been a resident of or stationed at a United States post or military reservation within the state for 60 days immediately preceding the filing of the petition may file an action for divorce in any county adjacent to the post or reservation. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 607 and 1603)
Grounds for Filing:The Petition for Divorce must declare the appropriate Kansas grounds upon which the divorce is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The divorce grounds are as follows:
The district court shall grant a decree of divorce for any of the following grounds:
(1) failure to perform a material marital duty or obligation; or (2) incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity of one or both spouses.
The ground of incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity of one or both spouses shall require a finding of either: (1) confinement of the spouse in an institution by reason of mental illness for a period of two years, which confinement need not be continuous; or (2) an adjudication of mental illness or mental incapacity of the spouse by a court of competent jurisdiction while the spouse is confined in an institution by reason of mental illness. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1601)
Filing Spouse Title:Petitioner. The Petitioner is the spouse who initiates the filing procedure with the family law or domestic relations court.
Non-Filing Spouse Title:Respondent. The Respondent is the spouse who does not file the initial divorce papers, but rather receives them by service.
Court Name:In the District Court in and for the County of __________, Kansas. This is the Kansas court where the divorce will be filed. The court will assign a case number and have jurisdictional rights to facilitate and grant the orders concerning, but not limited to: property and debt division, support, custody, and visitation. The name of the court is clearly represented at the top of all documents that are filed.
Primary Documents:Petition for Divorce and Decree of Divorce. These are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a divorce according to Kansas law. There are anywhere from ten to twenty other documents that may be required throughout the filing process. A few other documents that are typically filed during the process are: Verification (for petition), Marital Settlement Agreement, Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, and Notice of Final Hearing.
Court Clerk's Title:District Clerk's Office. The clerk or the clerk's assistants will be the people managing your paperwork with the court. The clerk's office will keep the parties and the lawyers informed throughout the process in regards to additional paperwork that is needed, further requirements, and hearing dates and times.
Property Distribution:Since Kansas is an "equitable distribution" state, the marital property shall be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will declare the property award.
The decree shall divide the real and personal property of the parties, including any retirement and pension plans, whether owned by either spouse prior to marriage, acquired by either spouse in the spouse's own right after marriage or acquired by the spouses' joint efforts, by: (A) a division of the property in kind; (B) awarding the property or part of the property to one of the spouses and requiring the other to pay a just and proper sum; or (C) ordering a sale of the property, under conditions prescribed by the court, and dividing the proceeds of the sale.
In making the division of property the court shall consider the age of the parties; the duration of the marriage; the property owned by the parties; their present and future earning capacities; the time, source and manner of acquisition of property; family ties and obligations; the allowance of maintenance or lack thereof; dissipation of assets; the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties; and such other factors as the court considers necessary to make a just and reasonable division of property. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610)
Restoration or Name Change:Upon the request of a spouse, the court shall order the restoration of that spouse's maiden or former name. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610)
Spousal Support:Not all cases involve support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the court's discretion.
The decree may award to either party an allowance for future support denominated as maintenance, in an amount the court finds to be fair, just and equitable under all of the circumstances.
The decree may make the future payments modifiable or terminable under circumstances prescribed in the decree. The court may make a modification of maintenance retroactive to a date at least one month after the date that the motion to modify was filed with the court. In any event, the court may not award maintenance for a period of time in excess of 121 months. If the original court decree reserves the power of the court to hear subsequent motions for reinstatement of maintenance and such a motion is filed prior to the expiration of the stated period of time for maintenance payments, the court shall have jurisdiction to hear a motion by the recipient of the maintenance to reinstate the maintenance payments. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610)
Counseling or Mediation Requirements:At any time prior or subsequent to the alteration of the parties' marital status the court may order that any party or parties and any of their children be interviewed by a Psychiatrist, licensed Psychologist or other trained professional in family counseling, approved by the court, for the purpose of determining whether it is in the best interests of any of the parties' children that the parties and any of their children have counseling regarding matters of legal custody, residency, visitation or parenting time.
If the opinion of the professional is that counseling is in the best interests of any of the children, the court may order the parties and any of the children to obtain counseling. Neither party shall be required to obtain counseling if the party objects thereto because the counseling conflicts with sincerely held religious tenets and practices to which any party is an adherent. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1608 and 1617)
Child Custody:When minor children are involved in a divorce, the Kansas courts will do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion.
The court shall determine custody or residency of a child in accordance with the best interests of the child.
If the parties have entered into a parenting plan, it shall be presumed that the agreement is in the best interests of the child. This presumption may be overcome and the court may make a different order if the court makes specific findings of fact stating why the agreed parenting plan is not in the best interests of the child.
In determining the issue of child custody, residency and parenting time, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: (i) The length of time that the child has been under the actual care and control of any person other than a parent and the circumstances relating thereto; (ii) the desires of the child's parents as to custody or residency; (iii) the desires of the child as to the child's custody or residency; (iv) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests; (v) the child's adjustment to the child's home, school and community; (vi) the willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent and to allow for a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent; and (vii) evidence of spousal abuse.
Neither parent shall be considered to have a vested interest in the custody or residency of any child as against the other parent, regardless of the age of the child, and there shall be no presumption that it is in the best interests of any infant or young child to give custody or residency to the mother. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610)
Child Support:Kansas child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent’s income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child. All income is typically verified by examining past W-2's and child support worksheets are available at the courthouse.
The court shall make provisions for the support and education of the minor children. The court may modify or change any prior order, within three years of the date of the original order or a modification order, when a material change in circumstances is shown, irrespective of the present domicile of the child or the parents.
Regardless of the type of custodial arrangement ordered by the court, the court may order the child support and education expenses to be paid by either or both parents for any child less than 18 years of age, at which age the support shall terminate unless: (A) the parent or parents agree, by written agreement approved by the court, to pay support beyond the time the child reaches 18 years of age; (B) the child reaches 18 years of age before completing the child's high school education in which case the support shall not terminate automatically, unless otherwise ordered by the court, until June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age if the child is still attending high school; or (C) the child is still a bona fide high school student after June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age, in which case the court, on motion, may order support to continue through the school year during which the child becomes 19 years of age so long as the child is a bona fide high school student and the parents jointly participated or knowingly acquiesced in the decision which delayed the child's completion of high school.
In determining the amount to be paid for child support, the court shall consider all relevant factors, without regard to marital misconduct, including the financial resources and needs of both parents, the financial resources and needs of the child and the physical and emotional condition of the child. (Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610)
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