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Kansas Marital Settlement (Divorce) Agreement

A Kansas marital settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between a married couple that sets out the terms of their divorce. It commonly establishes terms regarding child custody, spousal support, liabilities, and the division of property. The agreement simplifies the court proceedings and gives the parties greater control over the outcome.
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Divorce Laws

Alimony

alimony electronic payment approvedEither spouse may be awarded financial support paid for by the other party in a single lump sum, periodic payments, a percentage of earnings, or some other basis chosen by the court. Alimony (called “maintenance”) will be set at an amount and payment schedule determined to be fair by the court.[1]

Child Support

child support paperwork in an envelopeWhen determining the amount to be awarded to a spouse for child support, the court will consider the age and needs of the children, as well as the standard of living, earning ability, and financial means of the parents.[2][3]

Division of Property

meeting with lawyers to divide property during divorceBecause Kansas is an equitable distribution state, the court will need to determine that the couple’s property and financial interests, including retirement and pension plans, are equitably divided (as opposed to equally). Under state law, all property owned by a married couple becomes “marital property” when one party begins legal action for divorce.[4][5]

When dividing the couple’s property, the court will consider the following:

  • The age of the spouses
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The property owned by both parties
  • The earning capacities of each party
  • Family ties and obligations
  • The allowance of maintenance
  • The tax consequences for each party

Grounds for Divorce

Kansas is a “no-fault state,” which means that neither spouse needs to be accused of committing a fault in order for the other to file for divorce. The court only requires that the couple’s relationship has been declared incompatible. The petitioner may apply for a fault-based divorce if their spouse has failed in their marital obligations or suffers a mental illness/incapacity.[6]

Interim Support

The court may order one spouse to pay temporary alimony to the other party as financial support during the divorce process. If an individual fails to pay support within fourteen (14) days of being ordered to do so, their spouse may request an order of garnishment to have the funds seized.[7]

Residency

At least one member of the couple must have been a state resident for sixty (60) days prior to filing for divorce.[8]

Divorce Forms

How to File for Divorce in Kansas (8 steps)

1. Complete and Sign Divorce Forms

To obtain a divorce in Kansas, one member of the married couple will need to file a Petition for Divorce as the “petitioner,” naming their spouse as the “respondent.”

The following forms must be completed prior to filing:

The petitioner will need to sign the Petition for Divorce in front of a notary public, who will sign in acknowledgment.

Instructions for Filing Divorce – Kansas Judicial Council (without childrenwith children)

2. File Petition for Divorce

Once completed, the divorce forms will need to be filed with the clerk of the District Court for the county in which the petitioner or their spouse resides. The clerk will give the petitioner a case number to be written on every document that they file with the court. The clerk will also charge a filing fee, the amount of which will vary depending on the court and county. The petitioner should contact the clerk in advance to verify the sum that they are required to pay.

3. Serve Respondent

The petitioner will need to serve the petition on the respondent, along with a Summons form. The documents must be sent by certified mail or delivered by a sheriff or third party. If the petitioner wishes to request that service be completed by a sheriff, they will need to fill out and file the Request and Service Instructions form with the court clerk. The individual who serves the papers will need to fill out the return of service on a copy of the Summons, and in turn, file that Summons with the court.

The respondent, to waive the summons requirement entirely, can fill out and file the Voluntary Entry of Appearance form (which must be notarized). This alternative can only be accomplished if the petitioner personally delivers the petition to them.

4. Respondent’s Answer

The respondent will be given twenty-one (21) days to respond to the petition by filing an Answer to Petition for Divorce (agree / disagree). To contest the petition, they will need to file an Answer, Domestic Relations Affidavit, and Parenting Plan (if they have children) with the court. The answer must be signed in front of a notary public.

Instructions for Responding to Divorce Filing – Kansas Judicial Council (without childrenwith children)

5. Notice of Hearing

After serving the respondent, the petitioner must obtain a final hearing date from the clerk of the court. State law requires the final hearing to be at least sixty (60) days from the date that the petition was filed; however, each county has its own rules and requirements. When a hearing date has been set, the petition can complete the upper portion of a Notice of Hearing form and have a copy delivered to the respondent. Once the notice has been mailed to the respondent, the petitioner must fill out the “Certificate of Service and Mailing” portion of the notice, and file it with the court clerk.

6. Child Support Worksheet (Couples With Children Only)

If the couple has children, the Child Support Worksheet must be completed by both parties before the final divorce hearing takes place. The court may also require either or both parties to complete parenting or co-parenting classes prior to the hearing.

7. Before the Hearing

Before appearing at the hearing, the petitioner will need to fill out paragraphs 8, 12-13, 20-23, and 25 of the Decree of Divorce (without childrenwith children). The rest of the form will be completed by the judge at the conclusion of the hearing. If the couple has come to an independent agreement, they must complete a Marital Settlement Agreement prior to the hearing to be entered with the petition.

8. Final Hearing and Decree of Divorce

At the hearing, the petitioner will present their justifications for divorcing their spouse and why their proposed settlement is fair. The judge may order spousal and child support as they deem appropriate. Upon reaching a determination, the judge will complete and sign the Decree of Divorce, which the petition must file with the clerk. The clerk will file the original decree and give stamped copies to the petitioner, one of which must be delivered to the respondent.

When both parties have received a copy of the decree, the divorce will be final. Individuals can legally revert to their former name by including the name change in their divorce action or by filing an Affidavit Requesting Order Changing Name after receiving a divorce decree. To change their name to something other than their maiden/former name, individuals will need to begin a separate legal action by filing the Petition for Name Change with their District Court.

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