The Kansas Emergency Divorce Laws
By Marlon Trotsky
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Under current Kansas law, there is a 60-day waiting period on all petitions for divorce. However, if at least one of the parties involved is able to demonstrate that certain extenuating circumstances exist, then the judge may be willing to grant an emergency divorce to expedite the process. Cases that involve domestic abuse, financial considerations or those who want to leave the state immediately are often carefully reviewed by the judge.
Petition for Divorce
As in all divorce cases, one of the parties involved must file a petition with the court clerk indicating that they wish to pursue a divorce. This motion or pleading must be captioned: "In the Matter of the Marriage of and ." The two parties are labeled the Petitioner and Respondent, rather than Plaintiff and Defendant. The Petitioner must be a Kansas resident (i.e. have lived in the state at least 60 days prior to filing). There are no inherent advantages to filing first, unless the filer seeks "temporary orders of spousal support, child support, child custody and possession of the marital home," as attorney Grant Griffiths wrote in an essay on DivorceNet.
Essential Facts of the Case
This motion or pleading must include the essential facts, as the Petitioner must make a case for an emergency divorce. The petition must include the place and date of the marriage; if there are any children involved, and all related information; a list of every place the parties have lived in the past five years; and information on any other litigation involving the child or the name of another guardian.
After being presented with these essential facts, the judge will make his or her decision on whether to grant an emergency divorce. However, the request will not be heard until the window for writing an answer (usually 20 or 30 days, depending on the service) passes. The judge will deliver his decision in an order that notes that an emergency exists, what it entails, whatever evidence was presented to this effect, and the names of the witnesses that presented this evidence. Furthermore, if emergency circumstances exist that could endanger a child, then the judge can grant temporary residency to a close relative.
A ruling on an emergency divorce will be handed out at least a week before the hearing. While the waiting period may be waived, the start date of a divorce case may still depend on the court's calendar. Due to emergency circumstances (i.e. if one of the parties risks harm), the judge may issue an ex parte order that excludes one party from the proceedings, although their attorney can still be present.
Marlon Trotsky was born in St. Paul, Minn. and graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, while minoring in sociology. His work has appeared in various print and online publications, including: "The Trentonian," "San Jose Mercury News" and "Oakland Tribune."