Grounds for Divorce & Property in Kentucky

By Heather Frances J.D.

When spouses divorce in Kentucky, they can reach agreement about how their property should be divided, and the court can adopt that agreement in the divorce decree. If spouses don’t agree, the court makes its own distribution decision. Kentucky courts do not consider grounds for divorce when making decisions about how to divide property, and they generally do not consider marital misconduct.


Kentucky is a pure no-fault divorce state, which means the only ground, or reason, for divorce in Kentucky is the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. If one spouse states the marriage is broken and the other does not deny it, the court will likely decide the marriage is irretrievably broken and grant a divorce. If one spouse denies the marriage is broken, the court makes a determination after hearing both sides, and it may order a conciliation meeting before ruling on the divorce.

Property Division

Kentucky is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that Kentucky courts divide marital property equitably, but not necessarily equally. However, courts often do divide property equally when they feel an equal split is the most equitable division. Generally, the court does not have authority to divide a spouse’s separate property, which includes assets acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance. Other property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is divisible by the court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Marital Misconduct

Kentucky courts do not consider marital misconduct, such as adultery, cruelty or abandonment, as grounds for divorce, nor do they typically consider marital misconduct when dividing property. In Kentucky, it doesn’t matter who caused the divorce; property is divided the same no matter whose actions split up the marriage. However, if one spouse’s misconduct leads to the waste or dissipation of marital property, the court can consider this when issuing a property division decision. For example, if one spouse conducts an extramarital affair and spends marital money on that affair, the court may consider that waste of marital assets when dividing the remaining marital property.


Kentucky courts can award maintenance — also called alimony or spousal support — to either spouse if it finds that one spouse does not have sufficient property to provide for his needs and cannot support himself by finding a job. The court cannot consider marital misconduct when deciding whether a spouse should receive maintenance, but it can consider it when deciding how much maintenance to award. Thus, if the court determines maintenance is appropriate in a particular case, it can then consider the spouses’ misconduct, if any, to decide how much the paying spouse should pay.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
North Carolina Considerations in Separation of Assets During a Divorce


Related articles

Kentucky Divorce Laws

Even if you did not marry in Kentucky, Kentucky law governs divorces filed in Kentucky courts. You or your spouse must live in Kentucky for at least 180 days before filing. At the end of your divorce process, the judge will enter a divorce decree addressing the important aspects of your divorce, including property division, child custody and spousal support.

What Is Meant by Fraud As a Grounds for Divorce?

In many states, spouses wishing to file for divorce can choose one of many grounds, or reasons, upon which to base their divorce. State laws can vary widely when it comes to divorce law. In some states, the fraudulent conduct of one spouse may provide grounds for divorce, though this is more commonly grounds for annulment -- which voids the marriage as if it never existed -- rather than divorce.

Tennessee Law on Bigamy & Divorce

The law is firm that you can't get married if you're already married to someone else. If you do, it’s bigamy – unless you honestly believe that your first spouse divorced you or died. Bigamy occurs when a spouse knows he's still married and marries again. In Tennessee, it's grounds for divorce and also a criminal offense.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Mississippi Divorce Laws on Equitable Distribution

Mississippi divorce law changed significantly in 1994, when the Supreme Court handed down two important decisions in ...

Alimony Guidelines in Colorado

Alimony – called maintenance in Colorado – is one of the more hotly contested areas of divorce law. It lends itself to ...

Division of Marital Assets in a Nebraska No Fault Divorce

While Nebraska provides fault-based grounds for divorce, it also provides a no-fault ground, or irretrievable breakdown ...

What Happens to Assets in a Divorce in Wisconsin?

When a couple divorces, their marital assets must be divided between them. Wisconsin is one of nine community property ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED