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What Are Grounds for Divorce In KY?

divorce lawyer in louisville ky

In the state of Kentucky, divorce is limited to no-fault, meaning that the only ground for divorce in the state is if the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” In cases where one spouse claims that the marriage is broken while the other party does not deny it, courts will likely rule that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and grant a divorce.

When one spouse does not agree that the marriage is broken, the court will hear both parties before deciding. It may ask the spouses to meet for a conciliation meeting prior to making a ruling on the divorce petition.

Kentucky Divorce Law Limited to No-Fault

Kentucky residents can only request a divorce (dissolution of marriage) through the no-fault procedures in the state law. It is natural for sparring spouses to announce to the world that it was the other half’s fault. However, the no-fault divorce procedure protects you from the emotional stress that arises with finger-pointing and playing the blame game.

Prior to granting a divorce, you will need to show that you and your spouse have not been staying together for at least 60 days. The court understands that it is not always possible for couples to afford more than one place. Therefore, it allows spouses to live together for the 60 days. However, they must not engage in sexual relations with one another during this period.

Besides the separation for 60 days, you must demonstrate to the judge that your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. This means that you or your spouse can’t get along any further and that both of you agree that there is no possibility of future reconciliation.

While it may seem like a difficult task to convince a stranger of the breakdown of your marriage, it usually suffices that both parties are in agreement about there being no possibility of a reunion. Sometimes a judge may not seem convinced and ask the spouses to participate in a conciliation meeting.

What is meant by conciliation?

In case one spouse does not agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the judge may delay (adjourn) the case for between 30 to 60 days. In this timeframe, the judge may order you to engage in conciliation.

Conciliation is similar to therapy. The only difference is that the spouses meet with a neutral third party (the conciliator). The purpose of this meeting is to explore the likelihood of reconciliation. The conciliator will mediate and ask both spouses to talk openly about the marriage. This may enable the couple to address their differences.

Following the adjournment, the couple will have another hearing in front of the judge to decide if your marriage meets the criteria for divorce. It is within the power of the court to ask a couple to participate in conciliation.

But a judge cannot require spouses to dismiss the divorce proceedings unless it is what they want. The court will usually approve the divorce unless both parties agree that their relationship is improving, and there might be a possibility of reconciliation.

Adjournment of the proceedings is the worst-case scenario even if one party does not agree with the divorce. Either spouse can’t stop the other from acquiring a divorce.

What if my Spouse wants to Pursue Legal Separation?

Kentucky law offers the provision of legal separation as an alternative to divorce. Legal separation is similar to divorce and includes facets such as child custody, division of marital assets and liabilities, spousal support, and child support. But after the proceedings, the couple still remains married. Legal separation involves the same process as divorce. The spouses must show that their union is irretrievably broken.

A judge will grant your request for legal separation unless your spouse opposes it. In case one party objects to the separation, the court will treat is similar to a disputed divorce, meaning that adjournment and conciliation may be involved.

During this period, the goal is to understand if the couple can salvage the marriage. Generally, when one spouse seeks legal separation, it is usually not enough to convince a court that there is no possibility of reconciliation.

A judge will grant legal separation if both spouses are agreeable. In this case, the couple can reside separately but will remain married. While this may seem like an unorthodox alternative to divorce, it remains the sole option for some couples.

For instance, if a couple depends on one another for medical insurance, financial support, or practices a religion that prohibits divorce, a separation may be the most appropriate course.

Minimum Residency Requirements

It is mandatory for at least one spouse to have resided in the state for a minimum period of 180 days before you can file for legal separation or divorce. The inability to prove residency with a voter registration card, electric bill, or driver’s license could delay the divorce filing until this requirement is met.

Navigate the Complex Legal System with a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

If you or your spouse is considering filing for a divorce or legal separation, it is crucial to consult a dedicated and solid lawyer who can help you navigate this complicated and emotionally charged process.

The skilled attorneys at the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates have the knowledge, experience, and compassion to handle your case in a sensitive manner while protecting your interests. For a detailed initial consultation, call today at (502) 895-2626.