What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Kansas?
The grounds for divorce in Kansas include incompatibility (no-fault), failure to perform a material marital duty, and incompatibility by reason of mental illness. Kansas courts require the divorcing couple to clearly identify and explain the legal grounds under which they are terminating the marriage.
For no-fault states such as Kansas, the couple is not required to go into all the details in order to get a divorce. Either party merely needs to allege that they are incompatible and that the chances of reconciliation are zero. In addition, there is no requirement for corroborating evidence. Even if the other party does not agree that they are incompatible, the court must grant the divorce.
Exploring Grounds for Divorce in Kansas
You'll find further information below about the three main grounds for divorce that are accepted under Kansas law.
1. Incompatibility or “No-Fault”
Although Kansas does not use the term “no-fault,” a petition for a divorce based on incompatibility is classified as a no-fault divorce. The courts eliminate the concept of fault, except in circumstances where fault can clearly be identified. In these rare cases, establishing fault may be useful in presenting an argument regarding a dispute over the division of assets and debts.
It is important to note that only one party is required to claim incompatibility for the Kansas courts to grant the divorce. It does not matter if the other party does not want the divorce.
2. Failure to Perform a Material Marital Duty
In Kansas, one party may file for a divorce and allege that the other party failed to perform a material marital duty. An example of a material marital duty would be any of the prior Kansas fault grounds such as extreme cruelty, gross neglect of duty, adultery, and habitual drunkenness. Failure to perform marital duties are rarely brought up in cases and hold little merit with the courts when deciding cases.
Furthermore, Kansas courts rarely consider failure to perform a material marital duty. In those rare cases when material marital duty is a factor in the case, it typically applies only to the division of property and debts, not child custody.
3. Incompatibility by Reason of Mental Illness
In Kansas, one spouse may seek a divorce by claiming incompatibility by reason of mental illness. To prove grounds of mental illness, the spouse must establish that:
- The other party was confined to a mental institution for two or more years; or
- There has been an adjudication of mental illness or incapacity of the spouse by a court; and
- At least two of three court-appointed physicians found a poor prognosis of recovery.
Regardless of which grounds for divorce apply to your case, it's important that you work with an experienced family law attorney. Such an attorney can help you understand Kansas family law as it applies to your unique situation.
Preparing for a Divorce in Kansas
When preparing for a divorce in Kansas, both parties need to approach the dissolution of the marriage as peacefully as possible. The more conflict that ensues during the proceedings, the more that all interested parties pay the price. Therefore, both spouses should choose a more peaceful divorce option if at all possible.
Aside from entering into your divorce with the right mindset, here are some other smart steps for you to take in order to be as prepared as possible:
- Keep all documents and evidence organized and ready to submit.
- Keep careful records of all correspondence with the other spouse.
- Maintain a dignified demeanor at all times (meaning act with integrity and honesty).
- Consult a Kansas divorce lawyer.
Consulting a divorce lawyer can ensure that a spouse adheres to all Kansas divorce laws while protecting their rights. A lawyer may also be able to give them legal leverage when disputes arise.
Get Help from a Divorce Lawyer in Overland Park, Kansas
Jeffers Law Office provides comprehensive legal services for clients going through a divorce in Kansas. The law firm serves clients in all of Johnson County, including Overland Park, Leawood, Olathe, Shawnee, and Lenexa, as well as surrounding areas such as Wyandotte County, Miami County, and Leavenworth County. Contact Jeffers Law Office for a free initial consultation and legal services from an experienced family law attorney.