Florence, Boone County, KY | Covington, Kenton County, KY
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Kentucky law uses the term "dissolution" rather than "divorce" when referring to the legal process to dissolve a marriage. Ohio uses both terms to distinguish between uncontested and contested cases. For simplicity, this article uses the term "divorce."
What is an uncontested divorce?
If you can reach an agreement on all issues, the legal process will be streamlined and your case can be resolved with less cost to the parties. When there are children from the marriage, the former spouses will have contact with each other, a lot until the children reach adulthood, but beyond that for important family occasions and events in their lives. So it is often helpful to plan for your post-marital relationship by reaching an agreement that is fair to both parents. After the divorce, if the parties are unable to agree on any issue, they need to either follow what is written in the agreement or go back to court. Therefore, your attorney needs to make sure that any agreement is as complete as possible, both on current issues and those that may arise in the future.
What is a contested divorce?
You may not be able to agree on all issues. When children are involved, agreement can be harder to reach, because there are many more issues, and they are more personal to each parent. If the parties were not able to get along while they were together, it may spill over into the divorce process. Your attorney's duty is to fully inform you of your rights and what the court may decide if the parties cannot agree. However, the final decision never belongs to the lawyer -- it belongs to you -- or to the court if the parties cannot agree. Your lawyer needs to fully prepare the case for trial by having all the evidence that you want to use in a form that is admissible in court, even over the objection of the opposing attorney. Your attorney needs to prepare any experts before going to court, to ensure they provide the necessary testimony on the issues relevant to your case.
I heard that Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state. What does that mean?
Kentucky does not require either party to prove that the other was at fault. If either spouse believes there is no reasonable prospect for reconciliation, then the court will grant a divorce. Historically a spouse had to prove abandonment, adultery, extreme cruelty, gross neglect, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, etc.
Should I file first?
The courts decide cases based on the facts, not on who filed first. However, filing first can be important if someone may move or has already moved. You want the case be deciced where you live, and not where your spouse moves. If they have already moved, do not wait too long, or you may not be able to get the entire case done where you live.
Should I move out? Will that hurt my case?
Your spouse's lawyer could argue that you abandoned the marital home. The more important question is whether you abandoned any minor children. Domestic violence or other reasons may make it necessary that one of the parties moves out. Your lawyer may recommend that you go to court to order that the other spouse moves out. You should contact a lawyer and discuss your situation before taking a major step like moving out.
What documentation do I need?
Please see my Family Law Checklist for the documentation that you should bring to your free initial consultation.