How to File For Divorce In Kentucky

Requirements to file for a Kentucky

  • Getting a divorce in Kentucky requires that you must have resided in the state for at least 180 days before filing for divorce. The petition for the dissolution of marriage should be filed in a county where either you or your spouse live.
  • The court will grant a divorce only if your spouse and you have been living apart for a period of 60 days (living apart can also include living together without any sexual relations). However, if the court feels that there is a chance that the marriage can survive, it can suggest that both spouses seek counseling. The court also exercises the power to ask for a conciliation conference, where it can determine if the marriage is broken irretrievably.

Grounds for a Kentucky divorce

  • The grounds for divorce are not applicable in Kentucky anymore as Kentucky has been converted into a “no-fault state” by the state legislature. This means that there are no specific grounds required to file for divorce. The spouses filing for divorce must prove that the marriage is broken irretrievably.


  • Save Time and Money: Filing for divorce in Kentucky can be a headache without the proper guidance. Use an online divorce service like (Review) and complete your required divorce papers as fast as an hour for only $299.
  • Cost & Fees? While the court charges a fee of $113 to file your papers, hiring a lawyer to handle your divorce can cost anywhere between $3,000 – $20,000 with the attorney fees of around $8,100.
  • If you cannot pay the filing fees, you can fill out Form 8, which is a motion to proceed without paying due to poverty.
  • Need Help: If you have unique questions about your divorce, use to chat with a divorce attorney online.


To start your divorce process without the help of an attorney. You will require to fill in some forms. Most of the forms are available online on the website of the Kentucky Court of Justice. The divorce papers are also available for a nominal fee at the local courthouse or driver’s license branch.

You can alternatively access the interactive divorce form on the Legal Aid Network of Kentucky that is an online interface, which helps you prepare your form correctly. This is essentially a free service, which can be used by you only if you don’t have any children and you and your spouse agree on how your property and debts will be divided. You must get all the information that has been identified in the list in order to complete the interactive process.

You must have the following documents to start the divorce process:
  • Petition for Divorce: To begin the process of dissolution, the petitioner should file:
    • Form #1A: This is a petition for dissolution of marriage (without children under the age of 18 years).
    • Form #1B: This is a petition for dissolution of marriage (with children under the age of 18 years).
  • Summons for Divorce: This informs the respondent that he/she has 20 days for filing a written defense failing which there will be a default judgment against him/her.
  • Case Data Information Sheet: This provides information about the petitioner, respondent, their children, names, dates of birth, addresses, relationship with each other and Social Security numbers.
  • Certificate of Divorce: This is also known as the VS-300, which records the divorce for Kentucky’s vital statistics.

Filing the Forms

Once you have filled out all the forms properly, you must make 2 copies of all the documents. One set of documents will be kept by you, while the other will be given to your spouse. The original documents will be filed with your county court. You will need to pay $113 as a fee for filing your papers unless the court waives the fees because you can afford to pay it. The documents will be stamped by the court clerk and a file of your documents will be created at the county court.


Once the forms have been filed, the documents should be immediately served to your spouse. As a petitioner, you have around 45 days post filing by which the documents must be served on your spouse. If the papers are not served within 45 days, your case will be dismissed by the court clerk automatically. And, if you still want a divorce, you must start the entire process all over again.

If your spouse does not have a lawyer, then you must serve your spouse at his/her residence address. However, if your spouse has hired an attorney, then you can serve the attorney at their office and you are not required to send copies of the papers to your spouse.

If you are applying for a divorce and you are serving your spouse in the Kentucky State, then there are special service rules that are applicable. There are essentially 2 options:

  • The summons and divorce petition can be sent to your spouse directly for the courthouse through registered mail.
  • The sheriff can serve your spouse personally by handing the copy of the summons and divorce petition to him/her.

There may be different rules applicable, if your spouse is not locatable, in the military or in jail. You can check with the county court for more information on serving papers under these circumstances.


Contested KY Divorce (High Cost)

Usually, when your spouse and you are unable to agree on the divorce terms, the process cannot proceed unless the issues are resolved. The Kentucky court may ask you to attend mediation with your spouse. However, even after this, if you are unable to reach an agreement, the case will go to trial, where the court takes the decision on all issues for you. Contested divorces are quite drawn out and can take a few months to a year to come through and since you will need to hire an attorney to represent your case in the court, you will need to pay the lawyer fees, which makes contested divorces quite expensive.

Uncontested KY Divorce (Low Cost)

As you already know, Kentucky is a “no-fault” divorce state and to get a divorce, you don’t have to prove that your spouse has done anything wrong. And, you can get a divorce by just telling the court that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and your spouse cannot really do anything to stop the divorce.

An uncontested divorce is where both you and your spouse agree about the divorce and the terms of divorce such as child custody and support, property division, alimony, etc. In an uncontested divorce, all you need to do is submit your agreement of marital settlement to the court and after the requisite waiting period of 60 days, you will be divorced. An uncontested divorce is quicker and low cost as you don’t have to hire an attorney.


DIY Divorce in Kentucky (Lowest Cost)

If you are on a tight budget then you could handle your divorce on your own without involving a lawyer. A do-it-yourself divorce without an attorney is a good option if your divorce is an uncontested one, where there are minimal assets, there are no children involved and you agree on most of the issues with your spouse. However, you need to live in Kentucky for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce in the state. By opting for a do-it-yourself divorce, you can save both time and money.

Online Divorce Services

If you don’t really know how to go about the divorce process and filling out the various papers, then you can opt for an online divorce service who can do it for you. The online divorce service will help you in getting your divorce documents, filling them out properly and getting it filed according to the rules of the state without the requirement of an attorney.

Usually, using the services of an online divorce service is much cheaper and quicker than hiring a lawyer. However, you can use an online divorce service only if you agree on most of the divorce terms such as property distribution, child custody and support and alimony, etc. with your spouse.

Mediation Assisted Divorce  (Medium Cost)

If there are only one or two issues that you and your spouse cannot seem to come to a satisfactory verdict for both sides, hiring a third party like a mediator will help ease the confrontation. And most of all, help you both come out with a conclusion that will avoid going to court and arguing via lawyers.

Attorney Assisted Divorce (Highest Cost)

If you and your spouse are unable to agree on most of the divorce matters, hiring a lawyer will be the best route for you. When you have an contested divorce, the judge will order a trial that will require you and your spouse to argue over who get what. This battle will cost you thousands and when the dust settles, you may have a harder time moving on with you life due to the expenses and emotional rollercoaster.


Property Division in Kentucky

The State of Kentucky is an “equitable distribution” state which means that all the marital property that you and our spouse have bought during the marriage will be divided equitably (not equally). Any property that the spouse had before marriage or has brought into the marriage will not be divided during the divorce.

For a property to be regarded as non-marital, the property must be:

  • Owned before marriage.
  • A gift only meant for you given to you by a person other than your spouse.
  • Inherited.

The marital property will be distributed in a fair proportion and to make the decision, the court will assess the following:

  • Length of the marriage.
  • If there is an agreement between the spouses.
  • Contribution of each spouse to the purchase of the property and contribution towards maintenance.
  • Property value.
  • Economic condition of each of the spouses.
  • Property passed to the spouse via inheritance or gift.
  • Property that was acquired by both spouses in exchange for any property that was purchased before marriage.
  • Contribution of both spouses to increase the value of the property.


Child Custody in Kentucky

Ideally, it is best for both the parents to agree about the custody of the child/children, child support, visitation arrangements, etc. However, if the parents do not come to an agreement on these issues, then the court will decide on basis of the best interests of the child and the court usually decides based on the following factors:

  • The parents’ wishes regarding custody of the child.
  • The child’s wishes.
  • Relationship of the child with his/her parents, siblings and any other significant person.
  • Adjustment of the child to his/her home, school and community.
  • Physical and mental health of all the people involved.
  • Any evidence, information or records of domestic or sexual violence.

Kentucky Spousal Support

  • The court may award maintenance or alimony to you or your spouse for maintenance and support post the divorce. Spousal support is awarded on the basis of the financial conditions of you and your spouse. There is no particular way of calculating the maintenance and is usually as per the decision of the court.If the court finds that one spouse does not own sufficient property to support them for their requirements and cannot support themselves via proper employment, it may grant them a maintenance amount. However, the duration and amount of maintenance depends on many factors like:
    • The financial situation of the spouse seeking support.
    • Time required to acquire training or education to enable the spouse seeking support to find suitable employment.
    • Standard of living during the marriage.
    • Length of marriage.
    • Age, emotional and physical fitness of the spouse who is seeking support.
    • Ability of the spouse to meet his/her own needs and those of the spouse who is seeking support.

    There are different types of support:

    Temporary Maintenance

    This is usually paid by one party to the other while the trial or divorce proceedings is going on and before the finalization of the divorce.

    Rehabilitative Maintenance

    This is usually in the case of a short marriage, where a spouse pays so that the other spouse can complete a program, training or education that will enable the person to get suitable employment.

    Permanent Maintenance

    This is when the court orders a specific amount that must be paid by one spouse to the other after the divorce.

    When determining the support, there may be a role played by “fault”. However, the court usually does not take into consideration fault while determining if a spouse is eligible for support or not. It only considers fault when deciding on the amount of support and the duration.


Preparing For Court

To finalize the divorce in Kentucky, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 60 days. In the interim period, if you have children, the court may order your spouse and you to join a course on divorce education.

  • If your spouse and you have an agreement on all issues related to the divorce, then you can get forms that can help to finalize your divorce and the forms ask the court to schedule your case for the final hearing after a period of 60 days.
  • If you have served your spouse the divorce notice, but your spouse does not respond to the filing or you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement, you can ask for a default judgment and finalize your divorce.
  • If you have served your spouse with the divorce notice and he/she has responded, but you are unable to reach an agreement, then you can fill the Form #10 Notice of Motion Order and ask the court to schedule the final divorce hearing.


If you and your spouse settle on all issues and you have filed the MSA or Marital Settlement Agreement, then you will have to answer the question regarding the marital agreement during your hearing and if all things are fine, then the court will approve the agreement.

However, if your spouse and you are unable to agree on the various issues, the judge will hear the evidence about the issues you cannot agree on and will decide on basis of your evidence.

You will be finally divorced from your spouse once you receive the divorce decree signed by the judge. You can use the divorce decree as proof to change your last name to your previous or maiden name.


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