Getting a divorce in Wichita
Court accepts pro se forms only from its Web site
Please see “Divorce in Kansas: Part 1” and “Divorce in Kansas: Part 2” for discussion of the value of professional counseling, the need to urgently address any domestic violence that may be present and for information on Kansas statutes regarding residency requirements, venue for filing, and so forth.
Local resources to help with domestic violence
As discussed there, experts say that if domestic violence is part of the relationship, said violence must be addressed immediately. In addition to legal counsel about divorce, a competent attorney can also help with restraining/protective orders, appropriate counseling and emergency shelter. As the District Attorney’s Web site says, “Domestic violence — also called spouse abuse, family violence, battering, and wife beating — is abusive and violent behavior between people who are married or living together, or who have an ongoing or prior intimate relationship or couples who have children in common. Men can be victims of domestic violence, although most victims of domestic violence are women.”
In addition to the DA’s site, a number of facilities are available to help residents of Wichita and Sedgwick County with domestic violence, including these online resources:
- Wichita police department;
- YWCA of Wichita;
- Community Health Assessment Project (CHAP);
- Child Advocacy Center;
- Harbor House Shelter.
18th Judicial District Court
In Sedgwick County, and indeed throughout Kansas, the “district courts are the front line of the judicial system. District courts are the trial courts of Kansas with the power to preside over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorship cases, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims. It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held.” Locally, then, the venue for filing and hearing divorce cases is the 18th Judicial District Court.
Filing pro se
The instructions for filing pro se, that is, representing oneself without an attorney, can be useful reading for those who have retained counsel. That being said, if you are filing pro se, you need to be aware that, unlike courts in some states that offer little help or instruction regarding forms, the 18th of Sedgwick County warns that “Only Pro-Se forms from our website will be accepted.”
Furthermore, under the headline, “COURT STAFF CANNOT PROVIDE ASSISTANCE OR ADVICE IN COMPLETING FORMS,” another advisory notice follows:
Caution: Use of forms without the assistance of a lawyer could harm your legal rights. You may want to have a lawyer review your completed forms before you file them with the court. These are basic forms and may not cover every situation.
Pro se forms
The preceding information assumes the contemplated divorce will not be contested. Family-law experts and legal authorities recommend that both parties in a contested divorce should retain counsel.
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