The termination of a marriage union is also known as divorce. All legal responsibilities between the parties are cancelled.
Do It Yourself?
Divorce is a demanding and sometimes traumatic experience. You can represent yourself, but an attorney may aid you through the experience and ease some of the stress.
Attaining a Divorce
If your marriage is not working, you have some options. You may annul the marriage contract, you may file for legal separation or you may seek a divorce. In Kansas, either party must be a resident of the state for 60 days prior to filing for divorce. You may file in the county where either party resides.
The grounds for divorce in Kansas are incompatibility, failure to perform marital obligation or duty, or incompatibility. You must delineate ground for divorce when filing paperwork, but Kansas is a no-fault and fault divorce state.
Divorce begins with the filing of a petition for divorce in court. Next, the defendant and plaintiff share financial affidavits, which disclose personal financial details. If appropriate, custody and a parenting plan must be agreed upon.
An attempt at mediation or collaborative law resolution is typically made. Mediation means a third party works with the couple to come to an agreement. In collaborative law, attorneys and litigants agree to try to reach an agreement outside court. It is a more informal process than traditional divorce.
Contested or Uncontested
An uncontested divorce means that both parties are amenable to the divorce agreement. When a divorce is contested, the process is considerably more complicated, time consuming and expensive.
A divorce that goes to trial is unpleasant, time consuming and expensive. It benefits both parties to settle the matter via mediation or by collaborative law. If an agreement outside of court is not possible, the judge will decide terms during a court proceeding.
Court Orders During Divorce
Your attorney may file pretrial orders pending litigation on your behalf during the divorce. These orders, also called Pendente Lite, are:
- Protective orders that restrain one party from being harmed by the other
- Temporary custody and visitation of any children
- Maintenance of medical and life insurance
- Possession of the residence and other property
- Bill payment responsibilities and other issues
These orders are only temporary until the divorce is finalized and permanent orders are issued.
The Divorce Agreement
The divorce agreement will specify various issues:
- The court can decide how to equitably divide all property and debt that either party owns or possesses, regardless of when the property or debt was acquired.
- Alimony may be awarded to a spouse based on monetary need in a lump sum or over a period of time.
- Custody, legal and/or physical may be shared or sole. Shared custody is the most common disposition.
- Child support for any children of the marriage may be determined.
When the divorce agreement issues have been settled, or the court has decided the terms, the divorce agreement will be signed into law by the judge. You may appeal the decision if you feel it is unfair or erroneous.
A parenting plan must be agreed upon before custody is legally granted. If no agreement is reached, the judge will decide custody. The judge considers the child’s wishes, the history of spousal abuse, the parent’s wishes and the child’s ability to adjust in the decision-making process.
Consult a Divorce Attorney
Divorce laws are always in flux. You may wish to consult a divorce attorney be sure you are properly represented in this legal procedure.