Johnson County Kansas Divorce Lawyer - Patrick Copley
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With attorneys that specialize in family law/divorce, we at Copley Roth & Davies LLC understand the profound stress that often comes along with divorce. We are dedicated to assisting you through the divorce process effectively and smoothly. Our priority is to provide superior counsel with compassion and understanding. More times than not, a divorce can be settled between the parties with little or no court intervention. When the situation calls for it, however, we aggressively represent our clients through litigation and trial.

You may be an individual that is simply contemplating a divorce. You may be an individual that was recently served with divorce papers and have no idea what to do. In either situation, the divorce attorneys of Copley Roth & Davies LLC can assist you. This page was created to answer some of your basic questions regarding divorce in Kansas.

I was just served with Kansas divorce papers. What are these documents?

Usually, a divorce in Kansas will begin with the Petitioner (the party seeking the divorce) filing the following documents with the Clerk of the Court: the Petition, a Domestic Relations Affidavit, a Motion for Temporary Orders and if children are involved, a Child Support Worksheet and a Parenting Plan. On the same day these documents are filed with the Clerk of the Court, a judge will have usually signed a Temporary Order. The Respondent (the party who did not file for divorce), will be served with all of these documents plus a Summons (an Order to appear before a judge by a certain deadline).

Petition: A divorce is a type of civil lawsuit. Every civil lawsuit in Kansas must start with a party filing a Petition, which is a document that lays-out the basic allegations against the other party. Typically, in a Kansas divorce the allegations are that the parties are not compatible; that they have certain assets and debt that need to be split; if they have children of the marriage, that child custody and child support matters must be determined; and that maintenance must be determined.

Domestic Relations Affidavit (DRA) If the Petitioner seeks temporary child support or maintenance, a DRA is required to be filed when the Petition is filed. A Domestic Relations Affidavit will give the Court a snapshot of the party's income, assets and debt. This document is relied on heavily by courts in Kansas when making determinations as to assets and debt allocation, maintenance and child support.

Motion for Temporary Orders In Kansas divorces, the Petitioner (the party that initially files) has an opportunity to ask, on his or her own - without the other party present - for temporary orders. The document that makes this request is called "a Motion". In this case it is a Motion for Temporary Orders.

Child Support Worksheet If children are involved in a divorce in Kansas, child support is mandatory. Usually, child support is paid on a monthly basis. The formula used to come up with the amount of the monthly child support payment is somewhat complicated. If child support is being requested through the Motion for Temporary Orders, the courts require that a worksheet, showing the Court the numbers used in the Kansas Child Support Formula, be filed with the Court.

Parenting Plan If children are involved in a divorce in Kansas, the party seeking parenting time (or visitation) through the Motion for Temporary Orders must file a Parenting Plan with the Court, setting forth the specific times that the children are going to be residing with each party (or outside party), and the legal custody (or authority) each party will have over the children.

Temporary Orders The judge will virtually always sign the Temporary Orders on an ex parte basis; that is to say, without the Respondent being present or even aware that the Orders are being entered. The Orders will dictate how the parties are supposed to deal with each other until a final Divorce Decree is entered or until they are otherwise changed. The Orders may outline child support that must be paid, maintenance that must be paid, order one party to leave the marital residence, and may even split at the outset certain assets or debt. If the Respondent seeks the Orders to be modified, the Court must have a hearing within 14 days of the Respondent's request.

I was just served with divorce papers in Kansas. What do I do?

You have 21 days by which to enter your appearance and file an Answer to the Petition. Review the Temporary Orders. One does not want to run afoul of these Court Orders. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to do. For example, a typical provision in a Temporary Order will state that the parties shall not alter insurance policies (health, life, auto or otherwise). If you alter a policy after the Temporary Orders are entered, technically, you are in violation of a Court Order and could be held in Indirect Contempt of Court. Perhaps most important, consult with a lawyer!

How long does it take to get a divorce in Kansas?

In divorce actions in Kansas, the Courts do not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce until the Petition has been on file 60 days. Courts in Kansas can grant divorces sooner but only if a party can make the showing of an "emergency."

What are usually the main issues in a divorce?

In general terms, the five general issues in a divorce are as follows:
Asset distribution;
Debt distribution;
Maintenance or alimony;
if children are involved, legal and residential custody of the children; and
if children are involved, child support.

What is the general process of a divorce in Kansas?

As discussed above, one party files a Petition. Usually, ex parte Temporary Orders are signed by the judge on the same date. The Petitioner has 90 days by which to serve the Petition, Summons, ex parte Temporary Orders and the other documents described above.

Once the Respondent is served, he or she has 21 days by which to file an Answer to the Petition. If the Respondent takes issue with anything set forth in the Court's Temporary Orders, he or she can request a hearing and the Court must hold a hearing within 14 days of the request. More times than not, the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding the Temporary Orders without the need for a hearing.

If children are involved, mediation will be ordered. Mediation can be avoided, however, if the parties reach an agreement as to a parenting plan and the parties believe it is likely that the Court will deem the parenting plan to be in the children's best interests.

Written discovery may be served. The Rules of Civil Procedure allow a party to an action to serve on any other party interrogatories (that is, a list of written questions) and Requests for Production of Documents. In some divorce actions, the parties have equal access to and knowledge of the marriage's records and the written discovery phase is not needed. In a lot of cases, however, one of the parties believes the other party is being less than forthcoming regarding financials. In those cases, written discovery is a good idea. Written discovery can also be used to flush out issues pertaining to child custody.

The parties should get to their lawyers as soon as possible in the process their financial documents and insurance papers. The lawyers need to prepare a spreadsheet showing asset and debt allocation and the sooner those issues are understood, the sooner the parties can begin discussing settlement.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they will be ordered to attend a pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference, the parties' lawyers (or the parties themselves if they are pro se) discuss with the Court the issues that will need to be decided by the Court at trial. The Court requires a proposed pretrial order (or the completion of a pretrial questionnaire) one week before the pretrial conference. Most of the time, the case will be set for trial at the pretrial conference.

If one of the individuals was unfaithful in the marriage, will that work against
him/her in the divorce proceedings in Kansas?

Kansas Courts look at divorce in a very sterile manner. Issues of marital infidelity rarely play a role. In some respects, the Courts look at the marriage as a business that is dissolving. The Court's role is to determine who should receive what assets and what debt.

If issues related to the infidelity can be shown to have resulted in waste of marital assets, this very well could be relevant. For example, if a party is able to prove that the other party traveled extensively with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or purchased extravagant presents for a boyfriend or girlfriend, those proceeds may become "non-marital" and the scorned spouse may receive a credit in the asset and debt distribution. Absent a showing of waste of marital assets, however, as a general rule Kansas Courts do not want to hear about marital infidelity.

What other topics does this website have information on?

Asset Distribution

Debt Distribution

Spousal Support

Child Custody

Child Support

Contact Copley Roth and Davies for assistance in all of your family law matters.  We are experienced in divorce, custody modification, guardianship, and adoption.


Email or call (913) 451-9500 for a free consultation.