2. Filing or Defending Suit in the Family Court

In some Kansas counties, family law cases are heard by Judges who also hear other civil and criminal cases. In the large urban areas of Kansas, Family Court Judges do nothing but Family Court work. The case itself must be initiated by a Summons and Petition. The Summons is the document that gives your spouse notice that he or she will have twenty or thirty days (depending on the circumstances) in which to serve responsive pleadings, such as an Answer and Counterclaim. The Petition sets forth the factual and legal basis for your claims. You will be asked to verify pleadings under oath. Extensions of these deadlines are frequently granted. The Summons and Petition, once approved by you, are then filed in the Clerk of Courts Office in the County where the action will be litigated. A filing fee is required by the Court. Upon filing, a Docket Number is assigned to your case and must be written on all pleadings and motions filed in the Court thereafter. Your spouse must then be served with the Summons and Petition, personally. Service is typically done by a private process server or the sheriff or by your spouse accepting service personally or through his or her attorney. Once your spouse is served, he or she will have twenty to thirty days in which to responsively plead, which generally consists of an Answer and Counterclaim. The Answer and Counterclaim sets forth the facts and law upon which your spouse will rely in defending against your law suit. In addition to the Summons, Petition, Answer and Counterclaim, other Motions may be filed from time to time.