Kansas Family Law: Overview
In all matters of marriage, divorce and child care, Kansas’s family laws both provide guidelines toward legal resolutions and protect the rights of every interested party. The goal of these laws is not to intrude on your family’s private affairs but to ensure that any issues are resolved fairly and in the best interests of every family member and the larger community.
If you have a family law case in Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka or elsewhere in Kansas, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo’s Kansas Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.
If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, a Kansas family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.
Kansas Marriage Requirements
As personal or religious as your marriage may seem, it is also an important matter of law in Kansas. All marriages are treated as civil contracts between both parties of a marriage.
Kansas’s family laws are primarily concerned with both parties’ abilities to freely and knowingly consent to the civil contract of marriage. To ensure this and the health of both the marriage and the community, Kansas prohibits marriages:
- Between family members of half or whole blood to the extent of first cousins. This includes ancestors and descendants and siblings.
- In which either party is under 18 years of age without obtaining parental consent or a district court judge’s approval if both parents are dead and there are no guardians. The minimum marriage age in Kansas is 15 years.
- In which either party is age 15 without obtaining a judge’s approval.
In addition to qualifying for marriage under these requirements, the couple will need to obtain a Kansas marriage license prior to performing their marriage ceremony.
Kansas Premarital Agreements
Divorce may be the furthest thing from your mind when you’re planning your wedding, but there are ways in which you can plan ahead for the possibility of divorce. By creating a premarital agreement with your spouse, you can ensure that, should you get divorced, you can avoid the difficult process of deciding how to divide up your property.
The goal of a premarital agreement is to save both of you the time, hassle and, possibly, the extra legal expenses of relying on the court to determine how to distribute marital property. If you left the decision up to the court, it would use the method of equitable distribution to fairly—but not always equally—divide the property between you. You could end up getting or losing property you don’t want to receive or lose.
A premarital agreement puts the decision of dividing marital property into you and your spouse’s hands before you’re even married. You can reasonably negotiate how to divide personal and real property (including income, debt and other financial responsibilities) between yourselves at a time when you’re both not influenced by a broken marriage’s emotional fallout. You can make adjustments or terminate the agreement anytime during the marriage—as long as both of you consent to these changes.
Kansas law prohibits premarital agreements from adversely affecting child support rights, however. It may be better to not include provisions in a premarital agreement concerning child support in the first place since the court ultimately holds jurisdiction in child support decisions.