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Louisville Family Law Blog

Hidden assets: When is further investigation warranted?

You may be one of many Kentucky spouses who hoped to navigate the divorce process in as low-stress, economically feasible fashion as possible. Your main goal at the start was simply to protect your children's best interests and achieve a fair and agreeable settlement so that you could move on in life and not become entangled in a drawn-out courtroom battle.  

While that may have been your intent, if the other person involved has impeded the process by doing something you believe is undermining your rights as a parent or something that is dishonest, you may have reason to investigate the matter, and you can bring it to the court's immediate attention, if necessary. If you think your spouse is hiding assets, not only can it delay successful property division proceedings, it is also illegal. 

Addressing parental relocation concerns

Parental relocation is often a significant concern for parents when they share custody of their children and one parent wants to relocate with the child. When the custodial parents wishes to relocate, it can create a child custody dispute that must be resolved.

Fortunately, the family law process provides resources to help parents and families resolve concerns related to parental relocation. Child custody can be greatly impacted by a parent's desire to relocate and if a child custody situation is bad, it can be exacerbated by a relocation request. The family law court will always look to what is in the best interests of the child when considering a relocation request. In addition, they may also look to other factors such as distance and if the parent is seeking to move to a different city or move to a different state.

What factors are considered with best interests of the child?

Kentucky couples who have a child and have ended their relationship will often be in dispute over child custody. Obviously, co-parenting and sharing parenting time is often beneficial for the parents and child. However, the decision as to which parent will be granted primary custody is often the foundation for rancor and disagreement.

Many factors are involved when the court decides which parent will be given custody. A key is the best interests of the child. Knowing what is considered when determining the best interests of the child can help to understand how that decision is made.

What is considered with property division in a Kentucky divorce?

Divorce is difficult to deal with and residents who are parting ways at the end of a marriage will have a litany of issues. If there are children from the marriage, they will obviously take precedence over everything else. However, property division is also an important part of the proceeding.

This can be due to ownership of a home, business ownership, retirement accounts and other assets that will be up for dispute. Knowing how the law will determine who gets what is a good place to start before moving forward with negotiating or going to court. People should remember that there will be no consideration of any allegations or proof of marital misconduct when dividing the property in a way it deems to be just.

Can either spouse be ordered to pay maintenance in a divorce?

When a Kentucky couple decides to divorce, there are many issues that will be considered as the proceeding moves forward. This is true whether the couple can negotiate and come to an amicable agreement or there is a contentious court case. Custody of children, property division and more will be considered. One part of the case that is frequently disagreed upon is spousal maintenance. Often, there is a belief that the male spouse will always pay maintenance to a female spouse. However, the law says that either spouse can be ordered to pay maintenance and there are multiple issues that will factor in.

The court can grant maintenance for either spouse in certain situations. This can be done if the court finds that the spouse who is requesting maintenance meets the following criteria: he or she lacks the property to provide for his or her reasonable needs - this will include marital property granted as part of property division; and the person cannot support him or herself via appropriate employment or has custody of a child who has a condition or is in a situation that the custodial parent should not be asked to seek employment.

Things to know regarding child support in Kentucky

If you've never been inside a courtroom, it can feel as though you've stepped onto another planet. When you face unfamiliar surroundings, it can cause you to feel nervous and stressed, which makes it even more difficult to navigate the circumstances. This is why it's always best to seek clarification of Kentucky laws ahead of time and to discuss any issue that causes you concern. If you expect to pay child support, it's critical that you understand how the process works as well as what regulations may impact your situation. 

Depending on the state of your relationship with the other parent, things may go as well as can be expected or become a contentious battle, especially if you're trying to handle things on your own that you're not really equipped to handle. As a good parent, you want what's best for your children. That doesn't mean you have to sit back and do nothing if someone tries to undermine your rights. Knowing how to access support is key to obtaining a fair and agreeable child support plan.  

What is irretrievable breakdown in a Kentucky divorce?

Certain terms in a Kentucky divorce might be confusing to many people who are considering moving forward with the end of marriage. These might be important to the case and how it is resolved. One such term is "irretrievable breakdown." The divorce will often hinge on the state of the marriage and if it is believed to be salvageable. Irretrievable breakdown and whether the situation has reached that point is important.

When there is a divorce petition or a statement under oath or affirmation has been made that the marriage is irretrievably broken or this statement has been made by one party and no denial has been issued by the other party, the court will determine if the marriage has been irretrievably broken or not. It is vital to remember that there will be no decree until the parties have lived separately for a minimum of 60 days. In the context of living separately, it includes a couple that resides under the same roof but is not sexually cohabitating. With the hearing, there might be an order for a conciliation conference.

Kentucky judges now must default to joint child custody

Individuals who have had to deal with the family law courts of the state know that matters related to the custody of children can be difficult and emotional proceedings. In Kentucky courts hear countless custody matters that result from parental separations, break-ups and divorces. In some cases sole custody may be the result of a hearing while in others joint custody may prevail.

Recently, though, Governor Matt Bevin signed into law a new requirement for family court judges. Under the law, judges must grant parents joint custody in all cases unless one parent has a domestic violence allegation against them in the near past. The allegation must result in the creation of a protective order and must have occurred within the three years prior to the custody case. The law creates a legal presumption for joint custody and Kentucky is the first state in the country to take this step.

Does the "tender years" doctrine still apply in custody matters?

In Kentucky and many other jurisdictions throughout the country, child custody decisions are made based on the subjective interests of the children in question. That is to say, the best interests of the child guide how a court will resolve their custodial care following their parents' divorce. Since different children have different needs, their custodial arrangements can take on very different forms.

However, there was a time when one parent had a stronger presumption of appropriateness for receiving custody of their children. It was assumed that mothers were more appropriate caregivers to their young children and therefore that they should be the ones to retain control over the kids once their divorces were finalized. This presumption was known as the tender years doctrine and though in some cases a mother may prove to be a better choice for custody than a father, there is no longer an assumption that mothers, generally, are better at taking care of their kids.

Child support payments can be used for a wide variety of costs

There is a myth out there in the divorce world that says the spouse receiving child support payments has to pay special attention to how he or she uses that money. It's a myth that seems to imply "you can't use this money in most situations." However, just like with all myths, the truth is far different than the story. Child support can't be spent on just anything, but it can be spent on many different bills and costs associated with your child and your family.

The money you receive for child support can, and obviously should, be spent on the essentials. More precisely, your child support can be used on things such as clothing for your child, providing rent or mortgage money to ensure a roof is over their heads, and to make sure that food is on the table.