Who Can Ask for a Divorce in Kentucky?

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Who can ask for a divorce in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, either spouse can ask the court for a divorce. But there are certain requirements.

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

To file for divorce in Kentucky, you must meet all of these requirements:

  1. You and your spouse have been separated for at least 60 days,
  2. You or your spouse must be a resident of Kentucky. That means at least one of you must have lived in Kentucky for at least 6 months (180 days),
  3. You must file your divorce papers in the Kentucky county where you live. If you file in a different county, your case may be transferred to the county where you live.
  4. The wife cannot be pregnant. If the wife is pregnant, you must wait until the child is born, even if the husband is not the child's biological father.

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Who can be considered a resident of Kentucky?

If you have lived here for at least 6 months, and consider Kentucky to be your home, you are a resident. You are a Kentucky resident if you:

  • Are registered to vote in Kentucky,

  • Have a Kentucky driver's license,

  • Pay state taxes in Kentucky, or

  • Have been stationed on a military base in Kentucky for at least 6 months.

Important! If you are a Kentucky resident, but your spouse has never lived in Kentucky, the court can make divorce and custody orders, but cannot usually make property or child support orders if your spouse does not file papers or go to court.

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Can I ask for child support or protective orders in Kentucky, even if I have not lived here long enough to file for a divorce?

Yes. If you live in Kentucky now, you can ask for child support and protective orders.

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What happens if I have to move out of state in the middle of my divorce?

You can still finish the divorce, as long as you met the residency requirements when you started your case.

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What if my spouse is in the military?

You can still ask for a divorce, but it may take longer. The law says military spouses can ask the court to postpone the court hearings if they are on active duty and cannot go to court.

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What if I am afraid that my spouse may hurt me or my children?

Ask for a domestic violence order (DVO). The court clerk can give you the forms you need to fill out. Or download a DVO Petition [PDF file].

A DVO can help keep you safe. For example, a DVO can order your spouse to:

  • Move out of the home,
  • Stay away from you, your home, your car, your work, or other places,
  • Not call you or contact you, and
  • Not have guns or other firearms.

Read more about how to get a domestic violence order.

Your local domestic violence shelter can also give you more information about how to protect your safety.

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Reviewed March 2009