Divorce is a difficult time for couples and their children. Whether your divorce is contested or settled by agreement, you need professional guidance to help you navigate Kansas divorce laws. Melissa has worked with hundreds of couples experiencing divorce in her roles as attorney, mediator, parenting coordinator, and guardian ad litem. Having experienced divorce herself, Melissa knows how difficult divorce is on everyone involved. Beyond legal advice, she knows her clients need support, empathy, patience, and understanding. Melissa’s goal when representing clients in a divorce is to ensure that her client obtains a fair, just, and equitable division of property and debts while proceeding in a manner that is in the best interest of the child/children of the marriage and helps the parties to work towards a productive co-parenting relationship.
Melissa has experience with divorces involving: the division of military retirement and other benefits; businesses; farms; LGBTQ issues; long-distance parenting; domestic violence; mental health or substance abuse challenges; incarcerated parent/spouse; and stepparent visitation issues.
Yes, in Kansas you can obtain a divorce without alleging fault. This means that the parties simply need to state that they are incompatible. While there are a few statutory grounds for a fault divorce in Kansas, almost all divorces proceed as no fault divorces.
In most cases adultery, while very painful and relevant to the parties and the ending of a marriage, is not typically relevant to the legal issues in a divorce.
Even if you have reached an agreement, it is still advisable to get legal counsel in a divorce. It is important for each party to get independent advice from an attorney so that they understand their rights under the equitable distribution system that Kansas has in place for property division. While child support and custody determinations may be changed up until the child is an adult, the division of property, debts, and orders of maintenance cannot be changed later. I have seen way too many people realize they made mistakes that cannot be undone later because they did not have the advice of attorney at the time of divorce. Typically, a divorce includes decisions that will greatly affect your financial wellbeing for years to come so it is usually worth the money to make sure it is handled correctly. If you do decide to represent yourself there are forms and instructions on the Kansas Judicial Council website found here: https://www.kansasjudicialcouncil.org/legal-forms/divorce
Probably. The common myth is that a military spouse is not entitled to share in the member’s retirement until they have been married for a period of ten years that overlaps service for a period of ten years (the 10/10/10 rule). This is not true! The truth is that military retirement benefits (pension only and not VA benefits) are divisible in a divorce. Period. There is no minimum time that you have to be married. The 10/10/10 rule only comes into play when determining how the spouse will receive his/her share of the benefits. DFAS will only pay the spouse’s share directly to the spouse if they meet the 10/10/10 requirement. One of the factors a Kansas court uses to determine a fair, just, and equitable division of property is the length of the marriage. Typically, the division is based on the length of the marriage and the spouse receives 50% of only the marital portion, which is determined by a fraction that is number of months of the marriage during service over the number of months of service. Recent changes to the definition of disposable military retirement pay enacted in 2018 make this analysis a bit more complicated than that, which is one reason it is very important to have an attorney with knowledge of military benefits!