Uncontested Divorce in Kansas
There are two ways to classify a Kansas divorce:
- A contested divorce occurs when the spouses disagree with anything in the case, including child-related issues, spousal support, property division, etc., and leave the disputed issues for a judge to decide. The contested divorce process typically becomes lengthy, involving several court appearances or a trial until a judge signs the final decree.
- A divorce is considered uncontested when the spouses resolve their disputes out of court. Instead of relying on a judge's decision, they enter into a Settlement Agreement covering child custody, visitation, child support, health insurance coverage for minor children, property division (including marital home, the spouses' assets, and debts), alimony, etc.
In an uncontested no-fault divorce, only a final hearing is usually required, where the judge reviews the divorce documents submitted for court approval and asks questions about the Settlement Agreement terms. Thus, the uncontested divorce process is a relatively quick and cheap way to end the marriage, given that you and your spouse agree to cooperate.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
Although divorcing couples can download blank forms approved by the Kansas Supreme Court at the Kansas judicial branch government website, this option is not suitable for everyone. Neither this website nor the court Clerk provides specific advice on interpreting state laws and county requirements or assistance in completing any divorce papers considering your particular legal rights and obligations. All this doesn't mean you need to engage a law firm to choose the right divorce forms and fill them out correctly. Instead, spouses filing for a simple uncontested divorce can use online divorce services like DivorceOnline.com. Divorce Online offers a middle ground between contacting a high-priced lawyer's office and doing all the paperwork yourself. Our online divorce services cost just $139. For that affordable price, we help our users prepare for the divorce filing process, from selecting the necessary divorce papers to completing them following Kansas divorce laws. Our users also receive written instructions on filing their divorce documents with the Clerk of the proper District Court. You can receive your ready-to-file divorce forms in only two business days.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Kansas
The Kansas divorce process takes several consecutive steps.
For a couple to be eligible to dissolve the marriage in Kansas, at least one spouse must have lived in Kansas for at least sixty days before filing a divorce petition with the local court.
Spouses seeking an uncontested divorce must agree on the legal reason for the divorce (ground). Although Kansas recognizes both no-fault and fault grounds for divorce, most divorces are no-fault, based on Incompatibility. This ground means that the spouses cannot get along anymore, but there's no one to blame for the marriage breakdown. To obtain a fault-based divorce, the plaintiff must prove to the court that the other spouse acted in certain ways. The fault grounds for divorce in Kansas are:
- Failure to perform a material marital duty or obligation (e.g. refusing to engage in sexual relations)
- Mental illness of either party (given that the spouse has been confined to a mental hospital or institution for at least two years, or a court ruled that they have a mental health condition)
To start a divorce case in Kansas, the plaintiff (the spouse initiating the case) must file a divorce petition and other completed divorce papers with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where either party lives.
Divorce papers in Kansas
The most common Kansas divorce forms needed to start a case include:
- Petition for Divorce
- Civil Information Sheet
- Domestic Relations Affidavit
- Request for Service Form (if not filing Voluntary Entrance of Appearance)
The rest of the necessary court forms typically vary depending on the multiple circumstances of a particular divorce case. For example, the spouses need to complete additional documents if they have minor children, if they want to waive the filing fees, or if either spouse is active-duty military, etc.
The plaintiff must pay a mandatory court filing fee when filing a divorce petition. On average, the cost for beginning a divorce case is about $200 in Kansas, but it can vary from county to county. Besides, the plaintiff may need to pay an additional service fee. Check with the Clerk or the local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Kansas divorce process implies a mandatory 60-day waiting period from the time the plaintiff files legal action until a court can enter a divorce decree. Thus, the final hearing date cannot be scheduled any sooner, even if the spouses have agreed on all terms of their divorce.
The next step is serving divorce papers on the defendant, i.e., notifying the non-filing spouse that the divorce process has begun. In Kansas, the service of process can be accomplished in one of the following ways:
- The defendant can sign a Voluntary Entry of Appearance form in front of a notary public as an acknowledgment of service. The signed form must be filed with the Clerk.
- The plaintiff can complete a Request for Service form and use the Sheriff's service to deliver the Petition for Divorce to the defendant.
- By certified mail, return receipt requested (the plaintiff has to file the green return receipt card with the Clerk when received from the US Postal Service).
After the defendant has received the required court forms, the Clerk can assign the hearing date, but not until the waiting period expires. The plaintiff must mail the Notice of Hearing to their spouse during the waiting period and file the original with the Clerk. Besides, in an uncontested divorce, the spouses need to complete the Decree of Divorce form and file their Settlement Agreement with the court.
At the uncontested final hearing, the judge typically reviews all the submitted divorce forms and considers the facts stated in the petition and the couple's Settlement Agreement terms. If everything is completed correctly and the agreement is fair, the court can enter a final judgment of divorce. The original decree signed by the judge must be filed with the Clerk.
Getting a Divorce With Children
In a Kansas divorce, parental rights and responsibilities can be determined by the Parenting Plan created by the spouses or at a court's discretion. However, the Kansas court decides all the child-related issues, including where the child lives or how much child support should be, based on the child's best interest. In particular, Kansas laws imply that joint custody is preferred (until proven otherwise), but it does not pertain to the child's physical residence. Thus, it is presumed that the spouses should share decision-making authority concerning the child's upbringing, even if the child resides primarily with one parent (who has "physical" custody). Joint physical custody occurs when the child lives with both parents for nearly equal periods.
If the parents cannot agree, the court can order them to attempt mediation to reach an agreement about physical and legal custody, visitation schedules, etc., or determine these terms at its discretion. To do this, the judges consider multiple relevant factors, including but are not limited to:
- the child's relationship with each parent;
- the child's emotional and physical needs;
- the child's adjustment to their home, school, and community;
- the child's wishes regarding custody if the child is of sufficient age, maturity, and understanding;
- both parents' preferences;
- each parent's willingness and ability to encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
- each parent's involvement in the upbringing and care of the child before the divorce;
- any evidence of domestic violence and abuse.
As for child support, Standard Kansas Child Support Guidelines apply in almost all cases, barring exceptional circumstances. According to these rules, the amount of child support is calculated considering the income of both parents, the number of children, child-related expenses, and custody plan. In general, child support continues until the child reaches age 18 but may be extended until the child graduates from high school.
The following additional forms are provided for divorcing parents:
- Child Support Worksheet
- Parenting Plan
- Kansas Payment Center Information Sheet
- Vital Statistics Worksheet
Filing for Divorce in Kansas Without a Lawyer
- An uncontested divorce is the most straightforward and fastest way to end a marriage in Kansas. Besides, the spouses are not forbidden to arrange their own divorce without an attorney.
- A Pro Se divorce, in which either party chooses to represent themselves in court, requires the same steps as any legally-assisted divorce. However, the spouses bear full responsibility for filling out all the required divorce forms and completing the filing process properly.
- Pro Se litigants can use self-help forms provided by Kansas Legal Services. However, if you do not have relevant experience, legal paperwork can be tricky. In such a case, our online divorce service will be helpful.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Kansas
Divorce Online provides a comfortable step-by-step process of selecting and completing your unique Kansas divorce forms without an attorney. Just check eligibility for the online divorce option, provide your case details, and complete the specially selected forms customized to your unique circumstances. That's all! You can work with your documents wherever and whenever you want, move at your own pace, and go back and make edits if necessary. Once you've completed DivorceOnline.com’s online questionnaire, you can receive your court-ready divorce forms in only two business days. Print them, sign, and start your divorce case following the comprehensive filing instructions we provide.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The minimum possible limit for an uncontested no-fault divorce in Kansas is 60 days from the date of filing, as defined by the mandatory waiting period. However, even straightforward divorce cases can take a little more time (from 60 to 90 days on average) due to other factors affecting the length of the process, including the court workload or any individual circumstances of each couple.
The cost of any divorce in Kansas starts with the court filing fee. Other expenses depend on many factors, including whether the spouses contest the case and whether they hire an attorney or participate in divorce mediation, use self-help Kansas legal services, online divorce websites, etc. Legal fees usually make up the lion's share of divorce costs: flat-fee divorce attorneys charge about $1500-$2000 plus filing fees for uncontested divorces in Kansas. However, the spouses can attempt a DIY divorce and take advantage of affordable online divorce services for document preparation to lower divorce costs.
If the plaintiff cannot afford the court filing fee, they may complete a Poverty Affidavit. The judge considers the plaintiff's request and their financial resources and exempts the applicant from payment if it's found that their income is too low.
Kansas divorce forms include but are not limited to Petition for Divorce, Civil Information Sheet, Domestic Relations Affidavit, Voluntary Entry of Appearance, Request for Service Form, Child Support Worksheet, Parenting Plan, Notice of Hearing, Decree of Divorce.