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Kentucky Marital Settlement (Divorce) Agreement

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Kentucky Marital Settlement (Divorce) Agreement

Updated September 01, 2023

A Kentucky marital settlement agreement is a document drafted and filed by a married couple when they have agreed on the terms of their divorce. The document must be completed and signed by both parties before their final divorce hearing; otherwise, the court will be authorized to divide the couple’s property as they deem fair. Common terms entered into the contract include child custody, the division of property, financial support, and liabilities. Although it is not required, it is recommended that each spouse obtain their own legal counsel when drafting and approving a marital settlement agreement to ensure that the arrangement is fair and all important subjects are accounted for. Once both spouses have signed the contract, the terms of their agreement become legally binding.

Table of Contents

Divorce Laws

Statutes – Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 403 (Dissolution of Marriage and Child Custody)

Alimony (§ 430.200)

If one party lacks sufficient property and employment to support themselves, the court may order the other party to provide financial support (the legal term is “maintenance”) to them.

Child Support (§ 430.211 and § 430.212)

If the couple has children, the court may award child support to one party based on their combined monthly adjusted gross income and the number of children for whom they share legal responsibility. The minimum amount of child support that an individual may be awarded is sixty dollars ($60) per month.

Division of Property (§ 430.190)

Under equitable distribution law, the court will fairly divide the couple’s shared property if they haven’t entered into a marital settlement agreement. When dividing the couple’s property, the court will take into consideration each spouse’s contribution to the property’s acquisition, the value of the property, the duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s economic circumstances.

Grounds for Divorce (§ 430.170(1))

Kentucky is a “no cause state,” which means that one spouse isn’t required to accuse the other party of wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. The petitioner only needs to claim that their marriage relationship has been “irretrievably broken.”

Interim Support (§ 430.160(1), (2)(a))

Once a divorce case has been filed, either party can request the court to order the other spouse to pay them temporary maintenance and child support.

Residency (§ 430.140(1)(a))

At least one (1) member of a divorcing couple must be a state resident for at least one hundred eighty (180) days before filing a petition.

Separation (§ 430.170(1))

Couples are required to live in separate residences or live without sexual cohabitation in a shared residence for sixty (60) days before a divorce decree can be entered.

Divorce Forms

Uncontested Divorce With No Children:

Uncontested Divorce With Children:

How to File for Divorce in Kentucky (5 steps)

  1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Divorce
  2. Complete and File Divorce Papers
  3. Serve Respondent
  4. Marital Settlement Agreement
  5. Final Hearing and Divorce Decree

1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Divorce

divorce legal requirements on computer screen

To file for divorce in Kentucky, the law requires that at least one (1) member of a married couple be a state resident for a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days prior to the action. Furthermore, the couple must be separated or, at a minimum, live at the same residence without sexual cohabitation for at least sixty (60) days before a divorce decree can be entered by the court.

2. Complete and File Divorce Papers

divorce paperwork being signed by woman

To obtain a divorce, the petitioner (the spouse who files the divorce) will need to fill out a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (obtained from the court), Civil Case Cover Sheet, Civil Summons, Case Data Information SheetVerified Disclosure Statement, and the Acknowledgment of Verified Disclosure Statement. Additionally, the Certificate of Divorce or Annulment must be completed and printed on 25% Cotton Bond Paper with a visible watermark (see instructions for completing the form). Once completed, these forms must all be filed with the clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which the spouses reside. The clerk will charge a $113 filing fee (additional charges may be required).

3. Serve Respondent

Copies of the petition and summons must be hand-delivered to the respondent (the other spouse) by a sheriff’s deputy or professional process server. The petitioner will need to bring copies of the completed forms to the sheriff’s office and pay a service fee. If the couple is in agreement regarding the terms of their divorce, the respondent can sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver (obtained from the court) that waives the service requirement. In the event that the respondent wishes to defend themselves and contest the petition, they must file a written response within twenty (20) days from the service date.

4. Marital Settlement Agreement

documents showing financial separation during divorce

In an uncontested divorce, the couple will need to arrive at terms and record them in a Marital Settlement Agreement before the final hearing. Furthermore, they should complete the Dissolution Of Marriage Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Deposition of Petitioner, and Motion for Final Decree (obtained from the court). Once completed, these documents must be filed with the clerk of the Circuit Court.

5. Final Hearing and Divorce Decree

The final hearing will take place after all the necessary papers have been completed, served, and filed, and at least sixty (60) days have passed from the petition filing date. The judge will hear the petitioner’s case and review the terms of their divorce. If they deem the agreement to be fair, they will sign a divorce decree. Copies of the decree will be mailed or given to both parties, making the divorce final. Following divorce, women can revert to their maiden name if the couple has no children. Otherwise, either party will need to file a Petition for Name Change to change their name.