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How Does Divorce Work In Kentucky?


Getting a divorce in Northern Kentucky? 

If you live in Northern Kentucky and are currently considering divorce, you are likely looking for help in understanding Kentucky divorce laws.  This article will provide you with the basics of how divorce works in Kentucky.  

Residency Requirements for divorce in Kentucky

You must be a resident of Kentucky for a minimum of 180 days in order to file for divorce in Kentucky.  

What is the filing fee for divorce in Kentucky?

The filing fee for a divorce differs from County to County.  The filing fees begin at approximately $200.00.   

What does it mean to be a “No Fault State”?

Kentucky is a no fault state.  This means that either party can ask for a divorce at any time on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  The only requirement is that the party must be a resident of Kentucky for at least 180 days. No fault means that you do not need to say why you would like your marriage to end.  The only required statement is that the marriage is irretrievably broken without any chance of reconciliation. There is no proof that has to be provided regarding irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.  

Kentucky’s Shared Parenting Law & Child Custody

Kentucky law was updated in July 2018.  The new law assumes “that joint custody and equal shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child.  While 50/50 custody is a goal of many divorcing parents, 50/50 custody is not always the right solution.  Each family unit is unique and 50/50 custody may not be the right fit for your family.  

Age of the children, availability to provide proper care, and children who have special needs are just a few of the unique situations that could alter your course from 50/50 custody.  It is important to have an experienced lawyer who can help you through your unique child custody situation to achieve the custody arrangements and parenting schedules right for you and your children.   

Can I get divorced without going to court in Kentucky?

If you live in Kentucky, you do not have to go to court in order to get a divorce.  The whole process can be done entirely through interaction with your lawyer and paperwork.  

There are two primary paths for parties seeking divorce outside of court.

1. Mediation.  Mediation is a process that occurs outside of the courtroom and is an alternative dispute resolution that people often choose to resolve all matters relating to their divorce.  Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party to facilitate settlement discussions and resolution.   Mediation can be done with or without lawyers.  When lawyers are involved they can either be directly part of the mediation discussions or involved at the end of the process to create and file the necessary paperwork outlining the joint agreement between the divorcing spouses.

Many couples choose mediation from the beginning as the method they want to pursue to resolve their differences.  But even if you choose the option of litigation and taking your case to court, many of our local family court judges will require  you to attend mediation prior to providing a trial date.   To learn more about mediation, you should schedule a Consultation with Jackson Family Law.  

2. Collaborative Law.  Collaborative Law is a client-centered approach for divorcing couples who want to minimize the emotional cost and financial cost of divorce.  

Collaborative Law, also known as Collaborative divorce, is a process to settle your divorce out-of- court with the guidance and advice of your collaboratively trained lawyer. The objective is to create an agreement that meets the needs of all family members and avoids the emotional and financial costs of traditional litigation.  

The Collaborative Law Process begins with you, your spouse, and your collaboratively trained lawyers signing a Collaborative Participation Agreement that all issues will be resolved outside of the courtroom.  Everyone signs a contract to not go to court. To learn more about Collaborative Law, you should schedule a Consultation with Jackson Family Law.  You can also visit  This is the website for The Academy of Northern Kentucky Collaborative Professionals.  Attorney Ruth Jackson is the founder of and past president of the Academy.  Attorney Ruth Jackson continues to participate on the Board of the Academy. 

How does marital property get divided in a Kentucky divorce?

In Kentucky, all property acquired by the married couple during the marriage is presumed to be  marital property subject to division.  

Kentucky is an equitable distribution state.  Kentucky does not look at how property is titled.  The determination of marital property is based upon whether the property was acquired after the date of marriage.  The presumption of marital property may be rebutted if property is considered to be non-marital property.  

Non-marital property is property that has been acquired at a specific time or through a specific circumstance.  To learn more about the distinction of non-marital property from marital property, you should schedule a Consultation with Jackson Family Law.  

Will I get or have to pay spousal maintenance (alimony)?

Either spouse may be granted spousal maintenance (spousal maintenance is Kentucky’s term for alimony).  Alimony may be granted if the court finds that the requesting spouse lacks sufficient resources to provide for their reasonable daily needs through appropriate employment or with property awarded to the spouse as part of the divorce property division.  The court will look at alimony as the last issue in your divorce. To learn more about the spousal maintenance laws in Kentucky, contact Jackson Family Law for a Consultation.   

How is child support calculated in Kentucky?

There are a number of factors that go into calculating child support.  The primary factors are the parents’ gross monthly income and number of children.  If a parent has a pre-existing child support obligation, this will be taken into account in relation to that parent’s gross income.  The court may or may not include the work-related childcare costs in the Child Support Worksheet. It is more prevalent for the court to order each parent to directly pay their proportionate share of the work-related childcare costs directly to the childcare provider.  Additionally, the court may or may not include the health insurance premium expense in the Child Support Worksheet. If the parents share a 50/50 parenting schedule, it is typical practice for the health insurance premium to be divided between the parents after the child support calculation. The other factor that may impact child support is whether the parents have a 50/50 parenting schedule.    

How long does it take to get a divorce in Kentucky?

Every case is very different.  If there are minor children involved, there is automatically a 60 day requirement from the date that the initial filing is received by the non-filing party  before the court has the power to sign a decree of dissolution. This 60 day timeframe is a minimum amount of time. Most cases take longer than 60 days.   

What is a legal separation?

Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not end a marriage and neither party may get married again.  Legal separations are rarely used. The same decisions that occur in a divorce must be made in a legal separation (property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance).  The difference is that you may not then ask the court for a divorce for one year from the date of the decree of legal separation. A legal separation orders the parties to continue to live separate and apart.  A legal separation should not be considered as a tool for possible reconciliation.  

Consult with Jackson Family Law to achieve the best resolution for you.  


Serving the residents of Kenton County, Campbell County and Boone County, the law office of Jackson Family Law is ready to help you with your family law issues.  At Jackson Family Law you won’t get lost in the shuffle. Our service oriented staff is highly organized and highly responsive, promptly responding to all client communications.    

About Jackson Family Law

Jackson Family Law has been serving the families of Northern Kentucky for 24 years.  

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