Divorce & Separation

Divorce is both an emotionally draining and legally complex endeavor. Relationally, the process takes a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of the families involved. Legally, divorce involves complex procedures set forth in statutes and court rules. Each party in a divorce should seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to ensure that their interests are protected and that the necessary procedures are followed. Burke McClasky Stevens has served clients in the Kansas City area with divorce and other related family law matters for decades and can provide you with a compassionate advocate during this difficult process.

Grounds for Divorce, Residency Requirement, and Waiting Period

In order to get a divorce in Kansas, the person filing for divorce must cite incompatibility, failure to perform marital duty or obligation, mental illness, or mental incapacity of one of the spouses, as grounds for the divorce. Kansas is a no-fault divorce state, and incompatibility is the no-fault grounds that allows for couples to file for divorce without any fault-based grounds.

Only persons who have been a Kansas resident for at least 60 days can file for divorce in the state. They may file for divorce in the county in which either spouse lives. Once the initial petition is filed, the court won’t hold a hearing on the divorce until after 60 days have passed.

Division of Marital Property

If the parties in the divorce do not reach an agreement as to how they will divide marital property, the court will perform an equitable division of that property. This will include the real and personal property of the parties, including any retirement and pension plans, whether owned by either spouse prior to marriage, acquired by either spouse in his/her own right after marriage, or acquired by their joint efforts.

There are different ways that a court may divide marital property:

  • Divide the marital property in kind;
  • Award the property or part of the property to one of the spouses and require the other spouse to pay a just and proper sum; or
  • Order a sale of the property under conditions prescribed by the court and divide the proceeds.

The court is guided by a number of factors in making an equitable division of marital property. These factors include:

  • The age of the parties;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The property owned by the parties;
  • The present and future earning capacities of the parties;
  • The time, source and manner of acquisition of property;
  • Family ties and obligations;
  • The allowance of spousal support, or lack thereof;
  • Dissipation of assets;
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;and
  • Any other relevant factors that the court considers necessary to make a just and reasonable division of property.

Spousal Support

In its divorce decree, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony, otherwise known as maintenance or spousal support, to the other. Spousal support is meant to help the receiving spouse get through the divorce process and then adjust to a new financial situation after divorce. This can be a lump sum, a periodic payment, or even a percentage of the paying spouse’s earnings.

The court cannot order spousal support to continue for a period longer than 121 months. The court may order for temporary, short-term, or long-term support. The receiving spouse may get temporary maintenance while the divorce is pending, short-term maintenance to assist with expenses for a limited time after the divorce, or long-term support if the couple was married for many years. Even long-term support usually has a termination date that is either a specific date or a certain event happens, such as the remarriage.

If you are seeking to file a divorce in the Kansas City area, Burke McClasky Stevens is ready to serve you. Our law firm has provided effective representation to clients facing divorce in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, including Johnson, Clay, Platte, and Ray Counties. You may contact us for an initial consultation by calling (913) 242-7522. We will take the time to listen, analyze your case, and tailor a cost-effective strategy that protects your interests.