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Kansas Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers

Depending on his or her situation, the petitioner – the party filing for divorce – selects the appropriate set of divorce forms: Divorce Papers With Minor Children or Divorce Papers Without Minor Children.

A divorce begins by filing paperwork requesting a divorce with the clerk of the local district court - a petition and summons for divorce. The filing spouse is the petitioner; the other spouse is the respondent, who must file an answer to the petition. The petition states the essential facts, such as that the parties were married, giving both the date and place of the marriage.

The petitioner must also later complete, sign in front of a Notary, and file with the court clerk the Marital Settlement Agreement and the Domestic Relations Affidavit, Civil Information Sheet and the Domestic Relations Sheet.

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Filing the Paperwork with the Court

The petitioner files with the clerk of the District Court the original Petition for Divorce with required copies; the original Domestic Relations Affidavit with required copies; the original Civil Information Sheet; and the Request for Service Form, if not filing a Voluntary Entry of Appearance.

The petitioner should check with the clerk to determine the number of additional copies required as well as the amount of the filing fee.

If the petitioner cannot afford the filing fee, he or she can usually request a waiver by filing an affidavit showing an income too low to pay the fee. However, the court may collect the fee when it grants the divorce from one of the parties, or it may order each to pay a portion of it.

While filing, the petitioner should schedule a court hearing date by asking the clerk to fill out the Notice of Hearing form. This will be filed and sent to the spouse using Certified Mail with a return receipt.

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Serving the Documents

The petitioner serves the respondent in one of a number of ways, including:

  • Voluntary Entry of Appearance
  • Sheriff’s Service
  • Certified Mail Service

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Disclosing Financial Information

Both spouses complete a Domestic Relations Affidavit, a notarized statement that details his or her financial picture, from employment to assets to liabilities and monthly expenses. Thus, the court can better understand more about, for example, how much child support should be paid, or whether one spouse should receive alimony.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Contested divorces move through the courts the way any action moves through the courts. However, a contested divorce typically costs more and takes longer, and can cause emotional damage to all involved.

Finalizing the Divorce

In Kansas there is a required waiting period of sixty 60 days after the filing of the petition, unless an emergency exists. Most of the time, this waiting period is used to work out details of any agreements.

However, it’s impossible to predict how long a divorce will take. Some contested divorces drag on for years as a result of the couples’ refusal to agree on anything, and numerous legal hearings throughout the proceeding leading up to a full-blown trial. Both the time and legal expenses involved in such a divorce are likely to be substantial. Moreover, many courts have limited resources, staff, and time to deal with all of their cases.

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In Kansas, neither parent has a "vested interest" in the custody and residence of the child. This means that no presumption is made that infants or young children should reside with the mother. Custody agreements may be joint or sole legal custody.
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