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Know the Laws: Kentucky

UPDATED January 4, 2017

Basic information about Kentucky divorce laws.

back to topWhat are the residency requirements for divorce in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, a judge can grant you a divorce if either you or your spouse lived in Kentucky (which includes being stationed in Kentucky as a member of the armed services) at the time the divorce petition was filed; and for at least 180 days (6 months) before the divorce petition was filed.*

* KRS § 403.140

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back to topWhat are the grounds for divorce in Kentucky?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for a divorce.  The only ground in Kentucky is that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which means that there is no reasonable prospect of you and your spouse reconciling (getting back together).  The judge can grant you a divorce if:

  • both spouses state that the marriage is irretrievably broken; or
  • one spouse states that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the other does not deny it.*

However, if either spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the judge will consider:

  • the circumstances of why the divorce petition was filed;
  • the possible chances of reconciliation (fixing the marriage); and
  • any other relevant factors.**

After considering these things, the judge will then decide whether your marriage is in fact irretrievably broken or the judge could continue the hearing for 30-60 days and request that you and your spouse seek counseling.  At the next hearing, the judge would then decide whether or not your marriage is irretrievably broken.**

* KRS § 403.170(1)
** KRS § 403.170(2)

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back to topWhat additional requirements must be met before the judge can issue a divorce?

The judge cannot grant the final divorce decree until you and your spouse have lived apart for 60 days but ”living apart” can include living under the same roof without any sexual activity.*

In addition, the judge must have considered, approved, or made a provision for child custody, child support, spousal support, and property distribution if the judge has jurisdiction (power) to make those decisions.**

* KRS § 403.170(1)
** KRS § 403.140(1)(d)

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back to topCan I get alimony?

Alimony is financial support paid by, or to, your spouse.  A judge can grant you alimony if s/he finds that you do not have enough property or assets to meet your needs and one of the following is true:

  • you are unable to support yourself through an appropriate job; or
  • you have a child that you must stay at home to care for due to the child’s condition or other circumstances that make it inappropriate for you to work outside of the home.*

If the judge decides to award you alimony, s/he will determine how much to award, and for how long to order it, after looking at the following factors:

  • your financial resources, including marital property being awarded to you, and your ability to meet your needs without your spouse;
  • whether you will be receiving child support;
  • the time and cost that it would take you to get training or education to find an appropriate job;
  • your standard of living during your marriage;
  • how long you were married to your spouse;
  • your age and physical/mental condition; and
  • your spouse’s ability to meet her/his needs while supporting you.**

* KRS § 403.200(1)
** KRS § 403.200(2)

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back to topWhere can I find additional information about divorce laws in Kentucky?

Legal Aid Network of Kentucky has a lot of divorce resources, including:

The Kentucky Court of Justice also has information on divorce, including filing fees.

WomensLaw.org is unrelated to the above organizations and cannot vouch for the accuracy of their sites.  We provide the following links for your information only.

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