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How Long Does a Divorce Take in Kentucky?

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When spouses decide that they are ready to go their separate ways, they often want to get the process over with as quickly as possible. In Kentucky, the time that it takes for a divorce to become final will vary depending on several factors. However, the state does impose a waiting period, and there are some other constraints on the process.

What Are the Requirements for a Kentucky Divorce?

Before you can file for divorce in a Kentucky family law court, you must meet several criteria. First, at least one spouse must have been a Kentucky resident for at least the past 180 days. Next, both parties must agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning there is no possibility for reconciliation.

The Waiting Period

One of the things that will prolong finalizing a divorce in Kentucky is the state’s mandatory waiting period. The court will not finalize a divorce until a 60-day waiting period has passed from the date of the initial filing. For couples that don’t have minor children, this 60 days can begin from the date of separation, which could shorten the total time to get a divorce, depending on some other factors.

Time Allowable for Response

The non-filing spouse is also given time to respond to a petition for divorce once they have been served. It could take a week or more to serve them through the sheriff’s office or certified mail. If there are no minor children, the courts can finalize a divorce as soon as 20 days after service is complete. This is assuming that there aren’t any contested issues in your divorce.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

One of the biggest factors that will determine how long your divorce is going to take is whether it is contested or uncontested. Provided you and your spouse can reach an agreement on major issues such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony, you can file an uncontested divorce. With this type of divorce, the settlement agreement is filed with the petition for divorce, which is usually finalized shortly after the waiting period has lapsed.

When you are unable to agree on one or more issues, you will have a contested divorce which requires more steps and significantly more time. A lack of agreement is costly for everyone involved. The Kentucky courts will most likely require that spouses attend mediation. If they still can’t agree, the court will set a trial date, hear evidence, and make these tough decisions on their behalf.

Contested divorces in Kentucky can take a year or more to complete. A variety of factors can impact the complexity of your case as well as its longevity. Both sides are probably going to take time for discovery, which involves gathering evidentiary documents and taking depositions. Once this phase is completed, the case will need to find a place on the court’s schedule for trial.

Even after a trial is complete, there is more waiting involved. Decisions are not handed down in the moment. Instead, the divorcing couple will have to wait for the judge to review all the evidence and issue their decision later. This will include the final order and dissolution of marriage.

Are There Minor Children?

If you have minor children, there are other requirements that could prolong your divorce. If you are disputing certain issues, as discussed above, your divorce could drag out for a year or more. The courts also require that divorcing parents attend a Families in Transition education program. This can take several weeks to complete.

Speak with a Qualified Kentucky Family Law Attorney

Even uncontested divorces can be complex and confusing. A mistake in a divorce can be costly, particularly if you have minor children or any assets that you want to protect. While expediency is a noble goal, an experienced Kentucky family law attorney can also make sure that you receive the divorce settlement you need and deserve.

At John H. Ruby & Associates, our Louisville family law attorneys can draft and file these agreements on your behalf so that you can focus on shaping your future. Contact us now at 502-895-2626 or reach out to us online to schedule your initial consultation.