How Fast Can I Get Divorced?

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise may have reached a settlement within 2 weeks of filing the case, but they are not divorced until the Judge signs the Order saying they are divorced. The same is true in Kentucky. People always ask how fast they can get divorced, and I always tell them the first step is resolving the issues in their case — either by settlement or by the Judge.

Kentucky has 2 major laws when it comes to the timing of the divorce. The first one applies to all divorces and the second to those divorces with minor children involved.

First, all parties going through a divorce in Kentucky must be separated for a period of 60 days before the Judge will sign the divorce. This does not mean physical separation but rather, sexual separation. You can imagine how easy it is to ask this question! The reason this date is used because some parties continue to reside together after divorce as roommates, or simply because they cannot afford to live in separate homes. Some people have met this time-frame by the time they file and some have not.

Second, if there are minor children between the parties seeking a divorce in Kentucky, they can file a separation agreement, like Holmes and Cruise, but they cannot request a divorce until 60 has lapsed from “the date of service of summons, the appointment of a warning order attorney or the filing of an entry of appearance or a responsive pleading by the defendant, whichever occurs first.” Basically, the party who did not file for divorce must have notice the divorce exists (with the exception of those people who cannot be located), and 60 days must pass once that person has notice.

Application of what we have learned: assuming Mr. Cruise either received a copy of the Petition for divorce by Sheriff or signed a document saying he had notice on July 1, 2012, then, if the case was in Kentucky, they could not ask the Judge for a divorce until September 1, 2012!! That’s how quickly they could get divorced in Kentucky.

Obviously, if all issues in a case cannot be resolved, the case will take longer. Some people reach agreements on all issues like Holmes and Cruise, and some simply do not. Some even reach an agreement on part of the issues. Every case is different, truly different. The saying “no 2 people are alike” very much applies to divorce cases.