How Long Does a Divorce Take in Kentucky?

An hourglass with moving sand for people who are getting divorced

The duration of a divorce in Kentucky can vary depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, court availability, and the ability of the parties to reach agreements. According to the Kentucky Bar Association, an uncontested divorce generally takes a minimum of 60 days from the filing of the petition to the final decree, while a contested divorce may take significantly longer, sometimes extending to several months or even years, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Kentucky Divorce Process Timeline

To dissolve a marriage in Kentucky, a couple will have to go through several steps. The overall process duration is typically from 2 to 6 months on average.

Firstly, you need to comply with the residency requirements to initiate the divorce in the state. Under Kentucky law, one of the spouses must live there for at least 180 days before filing.

Next, getting a divorce in KY will require you to file a petition, serve the other party, wait until the separation period is over, and schedule a final hearing. Let’s check how long it will take to complete each stage.

How Long Does the Waiting Period Take for Divorce?

marking divorce waiting period in Kentucky
Divorce waiting period in Kentucky is 60 days.

The divorce waiting period in Kentucky is 60 days for couples with minor children. This period begins when a respondent is served with the summons and other divorce forms.

For couples without children, there is a mandatory separation period of 60 days. It means they can get divorced only after 2 months of separate residence, though they may file a divorce petition before it ends. If this separation requirement is met, they do not need to wait another 60 days after serving a respondent. To confirm the fact of separation, it will be enough for spouses to indicate the commencement date of their separate residence in the petition.

How Long Does It Take to File for Divorce?

Filing for divorce in Kentucky is possible within one day, but it may take a few days or even weeks to prepare forms for the court. The number of documents required for submission will differ depending on whether you and your spouse agree on alimony issues, child support, custody, and property division. The more complicated the divorce is, the more papers will be needed, and therefore, the more time spouses will spend preparing them.

Spouses with children will require additional forms on child custody, support, and visitation conditions. You can reduce the paperwork preparation period by reaching a marital settlement agreement with the other party and using an online service for completing the divorce documents.

How Long Does It Take to Be Served with Divorce Papers?

woman served with kentucky divorce papers by mail
Spouse served with divorce papers by mail.

The timelines of serving a respondent in Kentucky range from one week to a month, depending on the chosen method. After a petitioner files divorce papers with the court, they must serve the other spouse with copies of documents by certified mail, private process server, sheriff, or publication.

After receiving the copies, a respondent has 20 days to file an answer or a counterclaim. If a couple does not have disagreements regarding property division, child custody, and maintenance, a responding party can file a Waiver of Service Entry of Appearance. In this way, a couple will be able to save time on serving documents.

How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce

On average, it takes from 2 to 12 months to finalize a divorce in Kentucky. The process starts from filing the petition with the court and lasts until the judge makes the final decision.

How quickly a divorce can be finalized depends on many factors, including whether a couple has minor children or disagrees over the divorce terms. It is possible to speed up the process by completing and filing a settlement agreement and a waiver of service. In such a case, spouses may not be required to attend a hearing.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce Timeframe

Divorce in Kentucky can be contested or uncontested depending on whether spouses can agree on child custody, property division, and alimony during marriage dissolution. Based on the type, divorces may last, on average, from a few months to a year or more.

Most often, uncontested cases can be finalized shortly after the mandatory waiting period for spouses with kids or the separation period for couples without kids is over. Contested dissolutions of marriage are typically longer due to the court litigation required.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

On average, uncontested divorce in Kentucky lasts from 2 to 6 months. Uncontested cases are those in which spouses have already agreed on major divorce terms and prepared a marital settlement agreement. If spouses do not have children and were separated for 60 days, the divorce can be granted shortly after filing with the court, depending mainly on the court schedule.

If the parties have children under 18, the divorce process will last at least 60 days due to the mandatory waiting period. It can be prolonged for spouses to attend parenting education classes.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?

The average duration of contested divorce in Kentucky is from 6 to 24 months. These cases take more time than uncontested ones and usually require the support of legal services or mediation. Their timeline will depend mainly on how soon spouses can agree on marriage termination issues.

The duration will also be affected by the involvement of lawyers, mediators, and family experts and the number of court hearings needed for a judge to finalize the case.

Uncomplicated cases with several disagreements between parties are usually resolved in 6-9 months, while complex ones can last for several years. Everything depends on how quickly spouses will be able to agree, the necessity to visit classes for parents, the lawyers’ and judges’ schedules, etc.

You can speed up the divorce process by turning the case into an uncontested one and concluding a marital settlement agreement.