Divorce cases can vary from quick and smooth when spouses agree to long and difficult when they don’t. A Kansas divorce can take anywhere from two months for an uncontested case to a year or more for a contested case. If you and your spouse can reach agreement on most of the terms of your divorce, the process will usually be quicker and less expensive.
Kansas has a 60-day waiting period before a court can grant a divorce. Even if your divorce is uncontested and you have a signed settlement agreement before you file, your divorce cannot be granted until 60 days have passed from the date you filed your divorce petition. The court can grant a divorce sooner than 60 days only if you or your spouse can prove to the court that an emergency requires the divorce to be completed sooner than 60 days.
If your divorce is contested because you and your spouse disagree on at least one term of the divorce, your spouse has about 20 days after being served with the divorce papers in which to file an answer to your petition with the court. You and your spouse may pursue “discovery,” the process of getting access to information to help you present your case. Written discovery typically involves sending a written list of questions or request for documents to your spouse and waiting for a response, and the time discovery will take depends heavily on the complexity of the case. However, sometimes discovery is not necessary since both sides know all the facts already.
Kansas courts have authority to grant temporary orders to govern the conduct of the spouses and address any marital issues, such as child custody and support, until the divorce is final. Either spouse can file a request for temporary orders and the request may be served at the same time you file your initial divorce petition. Courts often grant requests for temporary orders without a hearing, but the court must hear motions for modification of temporary orders within 14 days of a spouse’s request to have an order modified.
If you and your spouse agree on a parenting plan regarding custody of your children, the court will likely adopt that plan as long as it appears to be in the best interests of the children. If you cannot agree, the court will order mediation since custody mediation is mandatory in Kansas when children are involved. Mediation will take some time to schedule and attend, depending on the availability of the spouses and mediator.
If you and your spouse do not reach a marital settlement agreement that addresses all issues in your divorce, your case must go to trial so the judge can hear arguments and receive evidence from both sides before reaching a decision. In Kansas, trials involve a pretrial conference to discuss settlement; a trial date is scheduled for after the conference in the event you and your spouse still cannot reach agreement. The timing for your trial depends on how busy the court is and how quickly the trial can be scheduled.