Johnson County divorce cases will be held at the courthouse located in downtown Olathe, Kansas. Most people who are preparing for a divorce would prefer to not ever have to step foot in a courtroom. And that’s an admirable goal, which can be accomplished if both spouses resolve all their disputed issues in a timely manner, generally within 60 to 90 days after the divorce is filed.
Johnson County Divorce Judges
Each divorce case in Johnson County will be assigned to a district court judge. If the parties have minor children, then the case will be set on a family court judge’s docket. If there are no children, or if the children are adults, then the case will be assigned to one of the general civil judge’s dockets. In either situation, the process from start to finish is nearly identical.
Temporary Orders (Ex Parte Orders)
Under the Johnson County local court rules, the spouse who file for divorce (called the “petitioner”) has the opportunity to ask the court immediately for ex parte temporary orders at the time the case is filed. Johnson County requires the parties to use standard ex parte temporary order forms. The correct form depends on a couple of factors, including whether or not the parties have minor children.
All of the ex parte temporary orders include standard provisions that prevent the parties from closing, hiding, or disposing of assets, or from taking on unnecessary debts. The orders also restrict changes to insurance policies. The purpose is to provide a freeze on the parties’ financial situation so that the most accurate division of assets and debts can occur. Another standard provision forbids both parties from harassing the other, either at home or work.
Ex Parte Custody Orders
Of course, when there are children, the divorce usually becomes more difficult because there are many additional considerations to work out. That is why ex parte temporary orders can set the initial parenting schedule, which controls the amount of time each parent spends with the children. Of course it is always preferable for parents set aside their own personal differences in order to co-parent their children together without the need for a court-ordered parenting schedule. But the immediate order of a parenting schedule through ex parte temporary orders on the day the divorce is filed can benefit parties who already are having a difficult time communicating and agreeing on child-related issues.
Ex Parte Child Support
Besides providing for the day-to-day parenting plan, ex parte temporary orders can also set out a temporary amount of child support that one parent will pay to the other. For these orders to be issued, the judge first must see the requesting party’s Domestic Relations Affidavit (“DRA”), which is a sworn affidavit relating to the parents’ finances. DRAs should be prepared carefully, and with a high level of detail, which provides the court with an understanding of the parties’ incomes, debts, and other assets. That allows the judge to understand the necessity of the request, and to order an appropriate amount of temporary child support under the Kansas Child Support Guidelines.
Ex Parte Spousal Support (a/k/a Alimony, or Spousal Maintenance)
Not only can the court issue child-support orders on the day the divorce is filed, it also can order spousal support to be paid from one spouse to the other. But just as a DRA is required for child support, it also is required before the judge can order temporary maintenance to be paid. The DRA should be detailed and accurate, and if the filing party is requesting temporary child support and temporary spousal maintenance, then the same DRA is used for both purposes.
Required Parenting Class
For divorces involving families with minor children, the court requires the parents to attend the Parents Forever class presented by the Johnson County Domestic Court Services. Based on that class, the court services staff may recommend other services that might benefit the parents, like mediation. (To learn more about mediation, visit our blog entry on mediation in family law cases).
For higher conflict families, Johnson County Domestic Court Services provides other programs with a goals of improving co-parenting skills and resolving divorce cases without the need for the court’s intervention.
More Information About Johnson County Divorce
Of course this is just a general overview of the initial process of divorce cases in Johnson County, Kansas. For a more complete evaluation on how your individual case may progress through the court, please contact The Flynn Law Firm for a free consultation.