Divorce Laws.In the territorial days divorces between unharmonious husbands and wives were granted by acts of the legislature, but when Kansas became a state and the constitution was adopted, establishing the various departments of justice, the power to grant divorce was vested in the district court, subject to regulation by law. Under the code or civil procedure "an action for divorce, or to annul a contract of marriage, or for alimony, may be brought in the county of which the plaintiff is an actual resident at the time of filing the petition or where the defendant resides or may be summoned." (C. 5. 1901 p. 4484.) The causes for which the district court may grant a divorce are as follows: 1when either of the parties had a former husband or wife living at the time of the subsequent marriage; 2abandonment for one year; 3adultery; 4impotency; 5when the wife at the time of the marriage was pregnant by another than her husband; 6extreme cruelty; 7fraudulent contract; 8habitual drunkenness; 9gross neglect of duty; 10the conviction of a felony and imprisonment in the penitentiary therefor subsequent to the marriage. (C. 5. 1909.)
The plaintiff in an action for divorce must have been an actual resident in good faith of the state for one year next preceding the filing of the petition, and a resident of the county in which the action is brought at the time the petition is filed, unless the action is brought in the county where the defendant resides or may be summoned. A wife who resides in the state at the time of applying for a divorce is considered a resident of the state although her husband resides elsewhere. When parties applying for a divorce appear to be "in equal wrong the court may in its discretion refuse to grant a divorce, and in any such case, or in any other case where a divorce is refused, the court may make, for good cause shown, such order as may be proper for the custody, maintenance and education of the children, and for the control and equitable division and disposition of the property of the parents, or of either of them, as may be proper, equitable and just, having due regard to the time and manner of such property, whether the title thereto be in either or both of said parties, and in such case the order of the court shall vest in the parties a fee-simple title to the property so set apart or decreed to them, and each party shall have the right to convey, devise and dispose of the same without the consent of the other." (G. S. 1909.)
After a petition has been filed for divorce and alimony, or for alimony alone, the court may make, without bond, and enforce by attachment, such order to restrain the disposition of the property of the parties or either of them, or for the use, management and control thereof, or for control of the children and support of wife, and for expense of the suit. Parties applying for divorce must have reliable competent witnesses and good proof. "When a divorce is granted the court shall make provision for the guardianship, custody, support and education of minor children of the marriage, and may modify or change any order whenever circumstances render such change proper." (G. S. 1901.)
The laws further provide for the restoration of the wife's maiden name and property, if she possessed any before marriage, and also for the division of property acquired by both parties after marriage. Parties having been granted a divorce cannot marry for six months, or until after final judgment or appeal. Any person violating this law is deemed guilty of bigamy and if convicted may be punished by imprisonment in a penitentiary for a term of not less than one year nor more than three years. Furthermore, marriage by incapables may be annulled and the children be deemed legitimate. Also, a wife may obtain alimony from the husband without divorce, for any of the causes for which a divorce may be granted. The husband may make the same defense to such action as he might to an action for divorce, and may, for sufficient cause, obtain a divorce from the wife in such action.
In 1907 the legislature passed an act in regard to foreign judgments of divorce as follows: "Any judgment or decree of divorce rendered upon service by publication in any state of the U. S. in conformity with the law thereof, shall be given full faith and credit in this state, and shall have the same force with regard to persons now or heretofore resident or hereafter to become a resident of this state as if said judgment had been rendered by a court of this state, and shall, as to the status of all persons, be treated and considered and given force the same as a judgment of the courts of this state of the date which said judgment bears."Pages 521-523 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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