A divorce is the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a petition be filed by one party against the other. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault (grounds), but Kansas is a "no-fault" state and an allegation of "incompatibility" is sufficient to grant a divorce. Either party may request and receive a divorce even if the other party objects.
The major issues in divorces are division of property, child custody and support, maintenance (spousal support), and parenting time. Because only state courts have jurisdiction over divorces, the petitioner can only file in the state in which he/she has been a resident for a specified period of time. In Kansas, the residency requirement is sixty (60) days. Like many states, the time period from original filing for divorce and final judgment (or decree) has a "cooling off" period to allow for a chance to reconcile. In Kansas, the "cooling off" period is also sixty (60) days.
Divorce gives both parties the legal right to marry another. A divorce proceeding also results in a legal division of the couple's assets and debts. Additionally, it will make provisions for the care and custody of the children of the marriage. Every state approaches these issues differently although most states use similar standards.
An annulment differs from a divorce as it is a judicial statement that there was never a marriage. Currently, most states have annulment statutes. An annulment declares that a marriage, which appears to be valid, is actually invalid. There are two kinds of invalid marriages. A void marriage is one that was invalid from the very beginning. The major grounds for a void marriage are incest, bigamy and lack of consent. A voidable marriage is one that can be declared illegal but continues as valid until an annulment is sought.
Fraud is the most common ground for annulment. The misrepresentation, whether by lies or concealment of the truth, must encompass something directly pertinent to the marriage, such as religion, children or sex, which society considers the foundation of a relationship.
Physical or emotional conditions may also be elements for an annulment, especially if they interfere with sexual relations or procreation. Other health conditions providing grounds for an annulment include, but not limited to, alcoholism, incurable insanity and epilepsy.
Contact a Kansas family law lawyer representing clients in Wichita, Kansas today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Alimony, now called "Maintenance"
Alimony, also known Maintenance, is an obligation of financial support paid by one spouse to the other.
Alimony is an allowance for support and maintenance (for example clothing, shelter, food or other necessities) of a spouse. If alimony is requested, it must be proven that there is a need for support and the other spouse has adequate means and the ability to provide for part or all of the need.
Some of the factors that weigh on the amount and length of the support are:
- Length of marriage
- Time separated while still married
- Age of the parties at the time of divorce
- Income of the parties
- Future financial prospects of the parties
- Health of the parties
Maintenance is included in the recipient's gross income and excluded from the payer's gross income.
Division of Property
Kansas is an equitable distribution state. All property, whenever or however acquired, regardless of legal title, is subject to equal division. Courts strive for a fair division between the parties and take into consideration several factors to make that determination.
In making the division of property the court shall consider: (1) The age of the parties; (2) the duration of the marriage; (3) the property owned by the parties; (4) their present and future earning capacities; (5) the time, source and manner of acquisition of property; (6) family ties and obligations; (7) the allowance of maintenance or lack thereof; (8) dissipation of assets; (9) the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties; and (10) such other factors as the court considers necessary to make a just and reasonable division of property.
Of course the parties are free to negotiate an agreed distribution of assets which the court will use as its division of the marital estate if the parties indicate their desire that the court adopt their agreement as its own.
On behalf of McCULLOUGH, WAREHEIM & LaBUNKER, P.A. we hope this material will be of benefit to you in answering your questions relative to family law. Contact a divorce & child support lawyer representing clients in Wichita, Kansas (and throughout the State of Kansas) today to schedule your initial consultation.