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Kansas Court Records

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The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Kansas

Other than divorce, spouses can end their marriages by annulment in Kansas. Although both legal proceedings have the same effect of ending a marital union and allowing parties to remarry, a divorce dissolves a valid marriage while an annulment invalidates it—declares it to have never legally existed. Before any District Court can pass a decree for annulment, however, specific legal circumstances must exist. Such situations are limited when filing for an annulment but more expansive for divorce actions. As with annulment, the District Court handles all divorce cases within the State. Typically, the court procedures for divorce and annulment are similar in Kansas.

What is a Kansas Divorce Decree?

A Kansas divorce decree is a court document finalizing a person’s divorce and describing the rights and responsibilities of spouses after a divorce. This document also bears basic information about the parties involved in a case and the case itself (for example, the case status, case number, and closing date). Furthermore, all court orders on divorce-related matters will be contained in the document. Under K. S.A 23–2711, these orders may include spousal support, child support, child custody, change of name, and who is liable for costs and attorney fees. For a decree to take effect, it must be signed by a District Court judge.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

What is an Annulment in Kansas?

An annulment is a judicial pronouncement that a marriage never took place between two persons. As mentioned earlier, certain legal reasons must be stated to end a marriage by annulment in Kansas. These grounds are outlined in K. S.A 23–2702. Under this law, individuals may petition for an annulment for these reasons:

  • The marital union is legally void. For example, incestuous marriages (K. S.A 23–2503) and bigamous marriages
  • The marital union is voidable because it was contracted by fraud
  • The union would not have occurred but for a mistake
  • One party did not know of a significant matter such as insanity or impotence
  • One party had not turned 18 years old and did not obtain the permission of a parent or legal guardian to get married
  • Any other reason that will justify the nullification of a marriage

Annulment records are not open to the public as any record of such proceedings or decrees will serve as evidence that a person’s marriage existed.

Annulment vs Divorce in Kansas

In Kansas, when an annulment decree is issued by the court, it signifies that a marriage is invalid and never existed legally. Meanwhile, when a divorce decree is entered, it alters a marital contract and releases married persons from their union; however, evidence of the marriage is not erased. Although the goal of both procedures is the same, the grounds upon which a petition can be filed are not, as indicated above. In annulment proceedings, the court may decide matters of child support, child custody, spousal support, property division (per K. S.A 23–2802),, and parenting time. Under K. S.A 23–2503, if the court denies a petition for an annulment due to insufficient grounds, these decisions can still be made upon request by either spouse.

Like an annulment, residents must provide any of the following grounds to begin divorce proceedings in Kansas, as described in K. S.A 23–2701:

  • Incompatibility (no-fault divorce)
  • Incompatibility (mental incompetence or illness)
  • Non-fulfillment of a significant marital obligation

The marital matters listed above are also decided in divorce cases, with the inclusion of an order for a change of name. However, while the spousal support in annulment cases is most often temporary, it is permanent in divorce cases, and though marital properties, assets, and liabilities are divided equitably in divorce proceedings, that is often not the case in annulment proceedings.

It should be noted that before a divorce action can be filed, the petitioning spouse must have been residing within the State for at least 60 days. The residency requirement for annulment proceedings is not expressly indicated in Kansas statutes or court rules, but usually, U.S. States either have no residency requirement or they are the same as that of the divorce process.

Residents who are eligible for annulment and interested in obtaining an annulment decree from the court are advised to consult an experienced Kansas attorney, especially to understand the legal process involved and find legal forms.

Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce In Kansas?

No, the cost of civil annulment is not lower than that of a divorce in the State of Kansas. Every marriage dissolution or nullification case is different. As such, the legal costs and attorney fees of a person’s case may be higher than others because of the circumstances surrounding that divorce case. These circumstances include child custody, child support, visitation, property division, and alimony. When any or all of these matters are contested in court, it can lead to a lengthy trial which in turn, will increase costs and fees associated with the case. Therefore, when it becomes evident that an annulment will cost more than a divorce, it is better to proceed with a divorce action instead. When the divorce case is uncontested, the related costs are reduced and it is possible to finalize the termination of a marital union more quickly.

What is an Uncontested Divorce in Kansas?

An uncontested divorce in Kansas is a legal proceeding where both spouses agree on matters such as the division of marital properties/assets, child custody, visitation, and spousal/child support. This kind of divorce is the simpler, timelier, and cheaper option as couples negotiate and decide marital issues among themselves without having to attend a trial. Thus, couples avoid costly attorney fees and court costs, and finalize the process in less time than they would if the case were contested.

Where to Get an Uncontested Divorce Form in Kansas?

Contested and uncontested divorce actions filed in Kansas have the same filing, service, and hearing procedures, as well as the same residency criteria and waiting periods. Typically, petitioners are required to have lived within the State for at least 60 days and will have to wait at least 60 days before a final decree can be issued by a judge. A spouse who wants to file for an uncontested divorce with the District Court may find legal forms via the Kansas Judiciary’s Court Forms page.

Kansas divorce records from uncontested cases are preserved by the Clerks of the District Courts and Office of Vital Statistics (OVS). Members of the public can request copies of divorce case records and decrees from the Clerks of Court. However, divorce certificates in the custody of the OVS are available only to parties of a divorce (spouses and their lawyers), their immediate family (children, spouses, parents, etc.), and any other individual with a legitimate interest in a particular record.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How Do I Get a copy of my Divorce Decree in Kansas?

An individual may obtain a copy of a Kansas divorce decree from the Clerk of District Court in the county where the divorce case was filed and finalized. A listing of District Courts can be found through the Kansas judiciary’s website. The contact addresses and numbers of the Courts are provided on this listing. Common methods of requesting these divorce decrees include in-person, mail, fax, or by submitting an online form. Under the Supreme Court Rule 1.03, the charges for copies are as follows:

  • 25 cents per page
  • $10 for each certified document
  • For copies mailed to requesters, 50 cents per page (first five pages) and 25 cents per page (additional pages)
  • For copies faxed to requesters, 50 cents for 15 pages

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Do I Get a Kansas Divorce Decree Online?

Per the Supreme Court Rule 22 (c)(6), Kansas divorce decrees cannot be accessed through remote/online public channels such as the eCourt Public Access Portal. However, public terminals located in courthouses may be used to obtain these court records.

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