What is the procedure to get a divorce?
It starts with filing a Petition for Divorce. The person who files it is the "Petitioner." By law, the "Respondent" has 21 days after the Petition has been filed to file his "Answer." Kansas has a 60-day "cooling off" period from the date the Petition is filed, after which the Decree of Divorce can be entered. The cooling off period may be shortened if necessary and if both parties agree.
Can I do it myself with forms I can download online?
You can, however, I have seen people who bring their forms to judges ordered to make extensive changes and come back to court. The forms are no substitute for a lawyer who knows the facts of your case. My advice is to hire a lawyer who practices family law and do it right the first time.
There are statewide guidelines for child support based on a number of factors, including income of the parties, number of children, ages of children, child care costs, health insurance cost, etc.
Alimony, or maintenance, is determined by the judge, on the basis of need, on a case-by-case basis.
Kansas is a no-fault divorce state. The grounds are incompatibility. One party may want to stay married, but if the other party files and establishes incompatibility, the judge will grant the divorce.
The filing fee is just under $200. My fees are reasonable and competitive with other attorneys of like skill in the Johnson/Wyandotte County area.
"Legal separation" is really a request for a decree of "separate maintenance," which may be granted under Kansas law. If the parties want to separate but remain married, the decree of separate maintenance can provide support for one of the spouses just as a decree of divorce can. It is a concept that is usually discussed in the early stages of the separation but never actually utilized, in my experience. The parties either reconcile or get a divorce.
My ex is living with someone. Can I terminate my maintenance obligation and is it worth it?
The maintenance recipient will not initiate termination of their maintenance. Termination requires investigation and usually court-supervised discovery (interrogatories, request for documents, depositions) to establish the ex-spouse is cohabitating as defined by Kansas law. Merely living together does not meet this standard.
Once cohabitation is proven, the court terminates maintenance on the date cohabitation commenced. The recipient must reimburse the ex-spouse for any payments made thereafter. Many family lawyers are unaware of this case law and mistakenly believe that termination can be retroactive only to a month after the motion to terminate is filed, like child support.