While some couples describe a few weeks apart as a "trial separation," the act of moving a suitcase to a friend's apartment does not constitute a separation in the eyes of Kansas courts. Instead, "legal separation" describes an alternative to divorce in which the parties remain married but live apart under a court decree of separate maintenance. The procedure for such a decree is outlined in Kansas statutes and provides for the same type of property division and financial arrangements between spouses that a divorce offers.
Be a resident of Kansas for at least 60 days before you file for legal separation. You cannot file for legal separation in Kansas unless either you or your spouse has resided in the state for this period of time.
Read More: Legal Separation Agreement Vs. Decree of Separate Maintenance
Evaluate your grounds for a legal separation. Kansas requires the same showing for a legal separation as for a divorce: incompatibility, failure to perform a material marital obligation or mental incapacity. Only select the latter ground if your spouse has been confined to a mental institution for a minimum of two years or a court has judged him to be mentally ill.
Obtain a sample separate maintenance agreement from a reputable online legal site. Using it as a guide, draft your own separate maintenance plan and discuss it with your spouse. The arrangement must include both a division of assets and debts as well as cover child support and custody issues. Negotiate the terms with your spouse until you are both satisfied, if at all possible. If agreement is not possible, consult an attorney for assistance.
Double-check your agreement, then print it in final form. Sign and notarize the agreement; witness your spouse doing the same.
Obtain necessary legal forms from a Kansas family law court or a reputable online legal document provider, including the Petition for Separate Maintenance. Following the form instructions, fill out the Petition for Separate Maintenance. Append your maintenance agreement to the petition.
File the petition in the family court of the county where either you or your spouse resides. Pay the current filing fee. Appear at the hearing date with your spouse and ask the court to incorporate your agreement into the decree for separate maintenance.
Consult an attorney to review the separate maintenance agreement before you sign it. If accepted by the court, it will constitute a binding agreement between you and your spouse.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.