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Kentucky Information

Kentucky Uncontested Divorce Faq
  1. Where should I begin my Divorce proceedings?
  1. KRS 452.470 states that the divorce venue lies in the county where either party resides.
  1. How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers?
  1. Civil Rule 4.04 states that an individual located in Kentucky will be served by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint to him personally. Normally, service is accomplished by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the local sheriff who serves the respondent. The sheriff must be given an idea of the respondent's location. Respondents who reside outside of Kentucky may be served by certified mail, return receipt requested.In the event that you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse you may use a warning order attorney. Civil Rule 4.05 states that a warning order attorney may be used when an individual respondent has (1) been absent from the state for four months, (2) left the county of his or her usual residence to avoid summons, or (3) concealed himself or herself to avoid summons. A party served by warning order has been constructively served. The method of service determines the extent of the court's jurisdiction. Personal service authorizes the court to divide property and to award maintenance and support, if appropriate. Constructive service on the respondent will permit only marriage dissolution.
  1. What are the acceptable grounds for divorce in Kentucky?
  1. Irretrievable breakdown is the sole ground for divorce in Kentucky. KRS 403.170 defines irretrievable breakdown as a determination that no reasonable prospect of reconciliation exists. As a result, if one marriage partner determines that he or she no longer wishes to remain in the marriage, the requirement of irretrievable breakdown has been met.The legislature has prohibited appeals from the portion of a divorce judgment that dissolves the marriage. In addition, extraordinary remedies such as mandamus or writs of prohibition may not be used to prevent a divorce.
  1. My spouse and I still reside in the same house. Can I still file for divorce?
  1. KRS 403.170 states that the parties must live apart for sixty days prior to the entry of the divorce decree. There is no requirement that this sixty day period must occur before you file the petition. For example, if the parties have separated for twenty days, the petition may be filed, but the decree cannot be entered until the sixty day period has passed.Living apart is defined under Kentucky statutes to include living in the same house, as long as the parties are not engaging in sexual intercourse. This implies that parties who do not live in the same household also must not have had sexual relations for sixty days. The provision was intended to aid families who cannot afford two homes pending dissolution.The statutes does not state whether the sixty day living apart period requires sixty continuous days, The statute should be interpreted to require sixty continuous days living apart. The waiting period was deigned to permit the parties to contemplate the serious step of ending their marital relationship. Resumed relations during the sixty day period indicates that there is some ambivalence on the part of at least one of the parties.
Answering A Divorce Complaint In Kentucky
The basic legal requirements applicable to answer forms are set forth in the Civil Rule (CR) 10, which provides that a Kentucky answer form must include the name of the court, names of the parties to the proceeding, the style of the proceeding, the file number, the nature of the pleading. Because most non-attorneys are unfamiliar with the rules and procedures for filing answers, many pro se litigants choose to download sample divorce answer forms online. Each averment in defense/response should be set forth in a concise, numbered paragraph. The overriding goal is clarity: each numbered paragraph should be direct, and relate to a single allegation and/or occurrence. See CR 10.02. Generally, a defendant has 20 after he or she has been served with the divorce complaint to serve his or her answer.



Every pleading shall have a caption setting forth the name of the court, the style of the action, the file number, and a designation as in Rule 7.01. In the complaint the style of the action shall include the names of all the parties, but in other pleadings it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties.[Adopted eff. 7-1-53]


All averments of claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be stated in a separate count or defense whenever a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth.[Adopted eff. 7-1-53]


Statements in a pleading may be adopted by reference in a different part of the same pleading or in another pleading or in any motion. A copy of any written instrument which is an exhibit to a pleading is a part thereof for all purposes.[Adopted eff. 7-1-53]
Kentucky Law Relating To The Valuation And Division Of Property In Divorce Cases


Kentucky is an "equitable distribution" state. This means that the court may consider a variety of factors in determining how marital property and/or debts are dividing and/or apportioned between divorcing spouses. However, particularly in long-term marriages, property and debts are frequently divided equally. Kentucky courts generally follow a three step process in adjudicating property issues in contested divorce matters. A trial court’s first step must be to categorize each piece of contested property as either marital or nonmarital. Next, the court must assign each party’s nonmarital property to that party. Finally, the court must equitably divide the parties’ marital property in just proportions. See generally, Smith v. Smith 235 S.W.3d 1 (Court of Appeals of Kentucky 2006). Frequently, people are unsure whether a particular asset is "marital" or separate. In general, property that was acquired during the marriage is considered "marital" and thus subject to division. However, there are exceptions to that general rule. For example, property that was inherited by you alone are generally separate, and thus exempt from distribution. Typically, property that was acquired by one of the parties prior to the marriage is deemed "separate" and thus exempt from equitable distribution. However, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has held that when premarital property increases in value because of the joint efforts of the parties, the appreciate may be deemed marital, and thus subject to equitable distribution. Smith v. Smith 235 S.W.3d 1 (Court of Appeals of Kentucky 2006). Under Kentucky law, the issue of which spouse is at "fault" for the breakdown of the parties' marriage is generally not a factor that affects the distribution of property. Because of the complexity, uncertainty and cost of having the court rule on property issues, many divorcing couples attempt to amicably resolve their issues through a marital property settlement agreements. Sample Kentucky property settlement agreements are available for download at divorcetoday.com

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