Here are brief answers to the most frequently asked questions about divorce. If you need still more information about divorce, call Linda K. Howerton for a free 30 minute consulation.
After consulting with the attorney, a petition, motion for temporary orders and other documents will be drafted. You will need to sign and verify the petition. It will then be filed with the appropriate district court. The documents will then be served on your spouse.
Generally a divorce takes about three to five months to complete, but it may take much longer. There is a 60 day waiting period after the Petition for Divorce is served upon one's spouse before the divorce can be finalized. One can file for an Emergency Divorce to shorten the period, however this process gives you a divorce, but often it does not divide property and debt or deal with issues regarding children. Those issues would still need to be determined.
Cost varies greatly depending on the complexity of debts and assets and how much or how little the spouses agree to, especially with children's issues. Linda K. Howerton offers a free thirty-minute consultation. A retainer is required before the initial paperwork will be filed.
It is possible? Yes. There is no requirement that a lawyer file your divorce for you. However, there are caveats. It will take time and effort on your part and the forms must be specifically written for the State of Kansas. A problem frequently heard, is some of the companies promoting form documents say their forms are state specific, but often this is not true.
If you do not have children, have no real estate, and nothing except household goods to divide, then you may be able to complete your own divorce with form documents. If you have children, it is extremely difficult to get all the required documents and language correct. The problem is that each county in Kansas has their own "local rules." Many of those rules deal with language which must be included in the divorce documents. In addition, many judges have particular language they want to be included. If you don't have children, but do own real estate, other assets or have a retirement plan, you will want an attorney to help protect your interests in the process.
Finally, if you and your spouse cannot agree on all the elements included in the divorce, then you will need to have a contested hearing with witnesses and evidence before the judge.
If you attempt to file your own divorce and find you are not able to complete it, you can still hire Linda K. Howerton to complete the process.
If the parents are able to reach an agreement as to an appropriate parenting plan for their children, the court will accept the plan in most circumstances. The parenting plan would include a parenting schedule for both parties and would contain provisions concerning decision making, schooling, child support, health insurance and daycare. If the parties are not able to reach an agreement then the court must make the final decision.
If the court makes the decision, it will be based on what the court determines to be in the best interests of the children. In making the decision, the court will consider many factors including who has had the care and control of the child; the desires of the child and the child's parents; the interaction with parents, siblings and others; the child's adjustment to the child's home, school and community; the willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent; and multiple other factors.
A contempt motion may be filed to enforce an existing parenting time order. If no order exists then a paternity or divorce action can be filed to establish such an order.
For a divorce or child support matter, you should bring a copy of your wage stub, social security numbers for your family and an address for your spouse. For a divorce, bringing recent tax returns, bank and other account statements is recommended, though these can easily be submitted after the first visit.