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Louisville, Kentucky 40202
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Jurisdiction and Venue for Divorce in Kentucky

 The first thing which must be decided is where to file your divorce. Lawyers and judges call this "jurisdiction" and "venue". This information is designed to help you and your lawyer decide in which state and county to file your divorce.

JURISDICTION

For the courts in Kentucky to have the legal power (or jurisdiction) to decide your case, you must have been a resident of Kentucky for at least 180 days  (6 months) before you can file for divorce here.

If you have not lived in Kentucky for 180 days, you may still be entitled to other relief, but you must be candid with the court.

VENUE

The county you will file your papers in is usually the county where you both have been living, but this is not always the case. One exception to this rule can occur if you or your children have moved out of the marital residence and into a home in a different county. If this has happened, you will need to discuss that special circumstance with your attorney.

There are other situations which can make the issue of residency a little more complex. Such a situation would be when one or both of you spend part of your year in Kentucky or you live in this state and your spouse lives in another. The fundamental decision on jurisdiction is critical. Courts cannot decide cases where they lack jurisdiction. No one knows your situation better than you. It is your responsibility to convey jurisdiction and venue information to your lawyer.

Your Spouse's Residency

Where your spouse lives will have a bearing on your divorce. If you are the one to file the Petition and you have met the jurisdiction requirements, the action will be filed in the county where you reside. If your spouse lives outside your county, then he/she will probably have to be served in the county of his/her residence. If, on the other hand, your spouse lives outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky, then he/she will have to be served through the "Long-Arm Statute" via the Kentucky Secretary of State by certified mail. Special rules also apply if your spouse is in the military.

 Jurisdiction and Child Custody Disputes

Where you and your spouse live will also have a bearing with respect to any child custody issues. Because your situation may be unique, this is a matter you should discuss with your attorney.