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What is required information in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

Attorney Chris Wise answers what is required in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

Here is the scenario: The husband wants to divorce his wife because they have lived apart for a few years now. The problem is that the husband lives in one county, the wife lives in another county, and they married in a different (third) county. Where does the husband file his Petition for Dissolution of Marriage? Also, what is required in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

Where do I file my Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)?

Assuming the husband and the spouse have lived in the same state their whole lives, this question is very common. After all, you may have just moved to a new county or are in the process of moving counties. The answer is simple but can cause some serious headaches if done improperly. An action for Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) must be brought in the county where:

  1. The husband usually resides; or
  2. The wife usually resides.

Seems simple enough, but many individuals attempt to forum shop, or file in counties where they believe they will have the advantage for some reason. Now that you know where to file your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the next question is what is required in your Petition?

What is required information in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

For starters, this question can become complex fast. Especially if you have children, one of the parties is a victim of domestic violence, one of the parties is pregnant, or if one of the parties suffers from unstable housing. However, all of your answers can be found in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS). More specifically, KRS Chapter 403 Dissolution of Marriage - Child Custody.

In Chapter 403, is a provision on the procedure for commencement of action for a divorce (KRS 403.150), which states in part that a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must allege

  1. The marriage is irretrievably broken; and
  2. The age, occupation, Social Security number, and residence of each party (see KRS 403.135);
  3. If domestic violence and abuse is alleged then the status of any domestic violence protective orders (see KRS 403.720);
  4. The date of the marriage and the place at which it is registered;
  5. The date the parties separated (see definition for "separated");
  6. The names, ages, Social Security numbers, and addresses of any living infant children of the marriage (see KRS 403.135);
  7. whether the wife is pregnant;
  8. Any arrangements regarding child custody, visitation, and child support;
  9. Any arrangements regarding maintenance of a spouse; and
  10. The relief sought.

At first glance, this may seem overwhelming. But, most Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage are only a few pages in length (double-spaced [see your local court rules on formatting]), this changes if you have children or have a history of domestic violence cases.

Why does my Petition for Dissolution of Marriage keep getting denied?

This most common reason I have found for rejected Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage is lack of required information regarding the parties children. If the parties have children, then they should reference KRS 403.838. This statute provides the required information to be submitted to the court when the parties have children and are determining child custody.

The second most common reason I have found for rejected Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage is lack of complying with KRS 403.135. If you provide personal identifiers, which is required by law in an action for Dissolution of Marriage, then you must provide a redacted and unredacted copy to the court.

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Wise Law LLC
8401 Shelbyville Road, Suite 105
Louisville, KY 40222

502-930-8685chriswise@wiselawllc.com
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