Getting a divorce in Kansas? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for Residents of Kansas
1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Kansas?
You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 60 days before filing. Anyone who has been a resident of or stationed at a U.S. military base in Kansas for at least 60 days also may file for divorce in the state.
2. Does Kansas have a waiting period?
Yes. The court will not hold a hearing until at least 60 days after you file your petition unless there is some emergency that makes it necessary for the court to act sooner. The court may require you and your spouse to go to marriage counseling during this time.
3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?
There are three grounds for divorce in Kansas. You may file for a divorce because:
- You and your spouse are incompatible.
- Your spouse failed to perform a material marital duty or obligation, meaning he or she might have abandoned you, committed adultery, been guilty of extreme cruelty, been habitually drunk, or been convicted of and imprisoned for a felony.
- Your spouse is mentally ill or mentally incapacitated. In this case, your spouse must have been in a mental institution for at least two years or found mentally ill by a court while in a mental institution. In addition, two of three doctors must find that there is little hope of recovery.
4. How does Kansas determine the division of property?
You and your spouse are encouraged to come up with a settlement on your own and present it to the court. If you can’t agree, the court will divide your property for you.
The court only divides your marital property, which is property you acquired after you were married. Marital property includes retirement benefits and pensions. Any property that you had before you were married and any profits from that property are your separate property and are excluded from the discussion. Any property you receive by gift or inheritance also is your separate property.
Your property will be divided in a way the court thinks is most fair. This might mean splitting things; it might mean that one of you gets certain property and pays the other for part of its value, or it might mean certain property is sold and the proceeds are divided.
To determine what is fair, the court will take into account:
- You and your spouse’s ages
- How long you were married
- The property each of you owns
- You and your spouse’s current and future earning potential
- How you acquired your property and where
- You and your spouse’s family ties and obligations
- Whether alimony (maintenance) is going to be awarded
- Whether you or your spouse mishandled your property
- The tax situations that each of you could face because of a division of property
- Any other factors the court decides are relevant
5. Does Kansas require mediation before a divorce is granted?
Mediation is not a requirement, though the court may order mediation any time you and your spouse can’t resolve a disagreement related to child custody, residency, visitation, parenting time, division of property or other issues.
Legal custody and physical custody are two different things. Legal custody outlines how involved each parent is in the major decisions of a child’s life — where a child goes to school, what faith he or she is raised in and other biggies.
Physical custody addresses where a child will live and with whom. Visitation is then negotiated based your physical custody arrangement.
The court encourages you and your spouse to submit a parenting plan for its review. The goals of such a plan are to:
- Determine you and your spouse’s parental rights and responsibilities
- Establish how you and your spouse will interact to handle issues regarding your child’s health, education, and welfare
- Plan for your child’s physical care
- Set up a schedule of parenting time
- Maximize your child’s emotional stability
- Minimize your child’s exposure to conflict between you and your spouse
- Address how things will change as your child grows up — ideally so that your plan needs little modification later
- Encourage you and your spouse to meet your responsibilities via the agreements you made in the parenting plan, rather than going to court
- Protect the best interest of your child
Your parenting plan may be more general at first and allow you and your spouse to make detailed agreements later as needed. But at a minimum, it has to:
- Designate legal custody for your child
- Set a schedule for your child’s time with each of you
- List how you and your spouse will try to settle disputes without going to court.
If you choose to create a more detailed parenting plan now for review by the court, you might address:
- Plans for holidays, birthdays and vacations
- Plans for weekends and days off of school
- How you will each share and access information about your child
- Relocation of you or your spouse
- Telephone access
If you and your spouse choose not to submit a parenting plan, the court will set up custody and parenting time based on your child’s best interest. To determine what is in your child’s best interest, the court will consider:
- How much time, if any, your child has been in the care of someone besides you or your spouse and why
- You and your spouse’s wishes
- Your child’s wishes your child’s relationship with you and your spouse, his or her siblings and any other people significant in your child’s life
- Your child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
- You and your spouse’s abilities to respect and support your child’s relationship with the other parent
- Any evidence of spousal abuse
- Whether you or your spouse falls within the registration requirements of the Kansas offender registration act, which requires registering with the state for a long list of
- Violent crimes
- Whether you or your spouse is living with someone who has to register with the Kansas offender registration program
- Whether you or your spouse has been convicted of child abuse
- Whether you or your spouse is living with someone who has been convicted of child abuse
The court may decide that your child should live with one of you and have visitation with the other; or it may decide that your child should live with both of you alternately and have visitation with both of you alternately, or it may award physical custody to someone else if it decides that is in your child’s best interest.
7. How does the state calculate child support?
Child support in Kansas is based on state guidelines. They estimate how much money would have been available to care for your child had you stayed married, then split that amount between you and your spouse in proportion to your incomes. The time that your child lives with each of you affects how much you each are responsible for, too.
To be sure that this amount is fair, the court also considers these factors:
- You and your spouse’s financial resources and needs
- Your child’s financial resources and needs
- Your child’s physical and emotional condition
The court also will address health insurance for your child, as well as work-related child-care expenses.
8. How does the state determine and calculate alimony?
Alimony, also known as maintenance, is not a given in a divorce. In Kansas, the court exercises more latitude in determining whether to award alimony and, if so, how much, basing its decision not on a specific list of considerations but on what it decides to be fair. In any case, alimony is not awarded for longer than 121 months, which works out to just a tad more than 10 years.
9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Kansas?
No, you are free to remarry after the court delivers the final judgment ending your marriage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you find yourself in need of additional resources, visit the Kansas Judicial Branch website. Here you’ll find an explanation of the state’s child support guidelines as well as worksheets to complete.
Please note: Local and state laws change constantly, therefore this information is for educational purposes only. We do our best to keep state-specific information up-to-date, but please contact us to discuss your unique situation.