How to File for Divorce in Kentucky

How to file divorce in Kentucky

A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Kentucky

Going through divorce is a stressful and emotional process. Getting started can seem impossible, but with the correct resources, it can be done without much fuss.

When you file for divorce in Kentucky, one of the best things you can do is to arm yourself with the information you’ll need to get you through the process from start to finish.

Here are some important things to know…

Gathering Important Information

important information

You should start this critical step as soon as you can. Having full and complete financial and personal records immediately available can save you time, money and frustration as you proceed with your divorce. You will need to access all types of information to help you make your best possible case and craft a favorable settlement.

It will take time to pull together your information, and you must be patient and thorough as you move forward. Keeping your accumulated records organized is also key.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together this great guide: The Ultimate Divorce Checklist: The Information You Need to Prepare for Divorce.

Decide How You Will Proceed with Your Divorce

Divorce Procedure to Use

How you decide to move forward will set in motion many other processes and decisions you will have to make along the way.

You have several possible ways to pursue a divorce in Kentucky. Based on your circumstances and your relationship with your spouse, you may be able to save time and money if you can reduce a divorce to a business transaction that needs to be handled instead of a battle to be won.

It’s not easy, but it is a favorable option to consider if the situation warrants it.

To learn more about all of your divorce options in Kentucky, review our article: What are the Types of Divorce? It will help you reach the best possible process for your particular case.

Fill Out the Necessary Divorce Forms

Necessary Forms to Prepare

After you decide what kind of divorce you will pursue you need to complete and submit several forms to start the process. An attorney can help you with this, making sure that you are using the right forms and that they are filled out correctly.

If you are going to complete forms yourself, which many people do, there are several possible forms you will need to submit. The Kentucky Court of Justice has placed some of the forms you’ll need online. You can also go to your local courthouse or driver’s license branch and request a complete packet of divorce papers for a small fee.

If you don’t have children and you agree about how to divide your property and debts you can use the Legal Aid Network of Kentucky’s interactive divorce form.

File Your Divorce Forms with the Court

How Do You File Your Forms for a Divorce

You should file your case with the Circuit Court Clerk or the Family Clerk Court of the County where you reside.

You must then serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers to legally make them aware of the divorce petition. They will have 20 days to file a response after service has been completed.

Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers

In Kentucky, proof of service can be done either by certified mail or by having a person over 18 years old personally deliver the paperwork. This is usually done by a professional process server or a sheriff or constable.

Kentucky laws gives a petitioner 45 days from the date of filing to complete proof of service. If you don’t serve the papers within 45 days, the clerk of court will dismiss your case automatically.

Paperwork should be served at their home address if they have not hired an attorney. If they have an attorney, then paperwork should be delivered to the attorney’s office.

If you don’t know where your spouse is and have no reasonable means of finding out where they are, you can file a motion to appoint a warning order attorney.

A warning order attorney is a member of the Kentucky Bar who is will make diligent efforts to locate your spouse and inform him/her that you have filed for a divorce. The attorney has to report back to the court within 50 days of his appointment with the result of his efforts to locate the defendant.

If the warning order attorney does not locate your spouse, you can still move forward with your divorce, but only after the warning order attorney files a report with the court.

Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Kentucky

How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Kentucky?

cost to file for a divorce

You will need to pay a $113 filing fee when you submit your paperwork. Some counties may have a slightly different fee schedule, so check with the county court where you are going to file if you want to be sure of the exact amount.

You will also need to pay a fee to have paperwork served on your spouse, which should run about $25 to $50.

Read More: How Much Does Divorce Cost?

Can divorce fees be waived in Kentucky?

If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee in Kentucky, you can request a fee waiver. You will submit a motion to the court, called an Affidavit and Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, and if a judge decides you qualify, you will not have to pay the required fees.

Can I file for a divorce online in Kentucky?

divorce online

Yes. As a matter of fact, filing for divorce online in Kentucky can be a great way to save time and money.

Online divorce isn’t right for everyone. If you have a contested divorce or particularly complicated finances, you should consult with a lawyer. You don’t want to be pennywise and poundfoolish.

But if you have an amicable divorce, you might be able to do it yourself. Just know that there’s a lot of paperwork and navigating the divorce process can be complicated.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help. 3StepDivorce is an online divorce service makes it easy to complete all your divorce papers and gives you clear step-by-step filing instructions. All you need to do is answer a series of questions, which shouldn’t take more than an hour.

Not all online divorce companies are created equal. In fact, most fail to deliver on their promises. Here’s how 3StepDivorce stands out:

  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • 100% court approval guarantee or your money back
  • Established in 1997 with over 750,000 customers
  • Private and secure
  • $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
  • Flexible monthly payment options (get started for as little as $84)
  • Unlimited live support by phone and email
  • Print your completed forms immediately or have them mailed to you at no additional cost
  • Excellent customer reviews (4.6 stars on Trustpilot)

online divorce kentucky

One of the things that really stands out to me is that only 4% of all reviews are 1- or 2-stars. In other words, virtually everyone has a good experience with 3StepDivorce.

Read our full 3StepDivorce review, or check out 3 Step Divorce to get started for as little as $84 >>

Now, when it comes to actually filing your divorce papers with the court, you can file online if you have not minor children. Otherwise, you’ll need to file in person at your local court.

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

How long does it take

If you have children you will have to wait at least 60 days and attend a Families in Transition class before you can file final divorce papers. It could take longer than this if you have unresolved issues.

If there are no children in the marriage, the divorce can proceed quicker as long as they have lived in Kentucky for at least 180 days and live apart from each other for a minimum of 60 days.

Just to be clear, these are the minimum amount of time needed to finalize your divorce. The process can take much longer depending on how well you’re able to work towards reaching an agreement.

A litigated divorce can take 6-12 months (or longer) to resolve.

What are the residency requirements to file for a divorce in Kentucky?

To file for divorce in Kentucky, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 180 days prior to the filing of the Complaint.

Can I file for divorce in Kentucky without using a lawyer?

file for divorce without a lawyer

Yes. The state’s self-help forms will walk you through the process which works best in an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse can work out all issues on your own and you do not have much property to divide.

By going this route, you do give up the advantage of being represented by an attorney which could have certain implications if you run into problems at a later point.

Can I get a divorce in Kentucky if I am pregnant?

divorce while I am pregnant

Kentucky courts may put a divorce on hold is a spouse is pregnant. A statute that is in place provides that if the wife is pregnant at the time the divorce petition is filed, the court “may continue the case until the pregnancy is terminated.”

A case that is continued is simply put on hold; no action can be taken on the case. According to the Legal Aid Network of Kentucky, courts require that the spouses wait until the child is born even if the father of the child is not a party to the marriage.

How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Kentucky?


Under military law, service members and their spouses have the option to file for divorce in the state where the spouse that filed resides, in the state where the service member is stationed or in the state where the service member is a legal resident.

Service members stationed at a Kentucky base must reside there for at least 180 days before filing for divorce, unless the spouse who filed first is a Kentucky resident.

The grounds for military divorce are the same as they are for a civilian divorce in Kentucky. You only need to cite irreconcilable differences.

In addition, when a spouse is in the military, they have certain protections afforded to them by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This allows them to postpone the divorce while they are overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition due to military service commitments. A service member can waive delaying the divorce by signing paperwork that will allow the divorce to proceed uncontested.

Child support and spousal support are determined by Kentucky state guidelines, but these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemembers pay and allowances. Standard Kentucky child support guidelines and schedules are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid.

A division of retirement benefits are governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. This legislation directs how a former servicemember’s retirement benefits should be divided after divorce. A key element is that the former spouse must have been married to the servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty to share in any retirement benefits.

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