DIVORCE LAWS OF KANSAS
The divorce laws in the State of Kansas is governed by the Kansas Statutes Annotated; Chapter 60. As per the law a petition for divorce may be filed in the District Court of the county of Kansas by either spouse where one of them has been a resident of Kansas for 60 days immediately before filing for divorce.
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
The district court shall grant a decree of annulment of any marriage for either of the following grounds:
- The marriage is void for any reason; or
- the contract of marriage is voidable because it was induced by fraud.
The district court may grant a decree of annulment of any marriage if the contract of marriage was induced by mistake of fact, lack of knowledge of a material fact or any other reason justifying recission of a contract of marriage.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The legal grounds as set out in the statute on which the district court shall grant a decree of divorce:
- failure to perform a material marital duty or obligation; or
- incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity of one or both spouses.
The ground of incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity of one or both spouses shall require a finding of either:
- confinement of the spouse in an institution by reason of mental illness for a period of two years, which confinement need not be continuous; or
- an adjudication of mental illness or mental incapacity of the spouse by a court of competent jurisdiction while the spouse is confined in an institution by reason of mental illness.
In either case, there must be a finding by at least two of three physicians, appointed by the court before which the action is pending, that the mentally ill or mentally incapacitated spouse has a poor prognosis for recovery from the mental illness or mental incapacity, based upon general knowledge available at the time.
A decree granted on the ground of incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity of one or both spouses shall not relieve a party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill or mentally incapacitated spouse. If both spouses are confined to institutions because of mental illness or mental incapacity, the guardian of either spouse may file a petition for divorce and the court may grant the divorce on the ground of incompatibility by reason of mental illness or mental incapacity.
Either spouse must have been a resident of Kansas for 60 days immediately before filing for legal separation. The grounds for legal separation are:
failure to perform a marital duty or obligation; and (3) incompatibility due to mental illness.
Only one spouse need testify as to the facts in the divorce. In addition, marital settlement agreements are specifically authorized. Also child custody and child residency agreements are specifically authorized and are presumed to be in the best interests of the child.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS
On either spouse's request, or on its own initiative, the court may require that the spouses seek marriage counseling if marriage counseling services are available in the judicial district where the divorce is sought. Unless in emergency situations, there is a mandatory 60-day delay from the time the petition is filed until a final Decree of Divorce may be granted.
Kansas is an "equitable distribution" state. The court may divide all of the spouse's property, including:
- any gifts and inheritances,
- any property owned before the marriage,
- any property acquired in a spouse's own right during the marriage, and (4) any property acquired by the spouse's joint efforts. Property distribution may include actual division of the property, an award of all or part of the property to one spouse with a just and reasonable payment to the other, or a sale of the property and a division of the proceeds.
The court considers the following factors:
- the length of the marriage;
- the age and health of the spouses;
- how and by whom the property was acquired;
- the conduct of the spouses during the marriage as it relates to the disposition of their property;
- the present and future earning capacity of the spouses;
- family ties and obligations;
- any dissipation of assets by a spouse;
- the tax consequences of property distribution;
- any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses;
- the property owned by the parties; and
the allowance of maintenance or not.
ALIMONY OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Either spouse may be awarded maintenance for a period of up to 121 months. After 121 months, the recipient may apply for an extension of one more 121-month period. The amount awarded is whatever is judged to be fair, just, and equitable. There are no specific statutory factors for consideration. Payments are to be made through the clerk of the court or through the court trustee.
If the parents have entered into a written agreement regarding child custody, the court will approve it if it is in the best interests of the child. Where there is no agreement, the court may award joint or sole custody based on the best interests of the child and upon the following factors:
- the length of time and circumstances under which the child may have been under the care of someone other than a parent;
- preference of the child;
- the wishes of the parents;
- the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- the relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members;
- the willingness of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent; and
any evidence of spousal abuse.
No preference is to be given based on the sex of the parent, regardless of the age of the child. Joint custody may be awarded if the court finds both parents suitable. The court may order that a joint custody plan be submitted to the court by the parents.
Either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support, without regard to any marital misconduct, based on the following factors:
- the financial resources of the child;
- the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; and
- the financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent.
Child support payments are to be paid through the clerk of the court or through the court trustee, unless the court orders otherwise.
The agreement shall be in writing and signed by both parties and is enforceable without consideration. After marriage, the agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties and this amendment is enforceable without consideration. The agreement is not enforceable if the party proves
- the agreement was not voluntarily executed;
- the agreement was unconscionable when executed because the party was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party, the party did not voluntarily waive the right to the disclosure of this information, the party did not have adequate knowledge of these obligations.
If a provision of the agreement modifies or terminates spousal support causing the party to be eligible for public assistance, the court may require spousal support to be paid to the party. If the marriage is determined to be void, the agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.