As a married couple, you and your spouse acquire rights to both property and debts acquired during your marriage. However, marital property excludes anything one owned before marriage, inheritance, gifts and property that is excluded through legal agreements such as prenups. Anything that a person obtains after a legal separation is also not included in property division in Kentucky.
In the US, there are two ways to divide marital property
- Equitable distribution
- Community property distribution
Kentucky, like many other jurisdictions, divides marital property equitably. Property is not automatically divided equally when a couple divorces. A couple can agree to divide their property and debts using a separation agreement where they negotiate, but the court will have to agree with them before it’s finalized. If the two spouses cannot agree without the help of the court, a judge will do it based on the following factors:
- The contribution of each spouse to obtain the property, which also includes that a stay at home spouse contributed.
- The circumstances of each spouse, which includes the custodial spouse needing the family home for the kids.
- Years of marriage for the couple.
- Property value that each spouse gets.
In many divorces where the property is divided equitably, the parties will have severe disagreements about which assets each side should receive. Collecting those assets can be difficult, as some spouses may take aggressive actions to conceal or hide certain assets.
If you have substantial property that was acquired during your marriage, it is a good idea to work with an experienced attorney and other financial professionals to gain an accurate reflection of the assets that need to be divided. This includes situations where you and your spouse may own a business together, or one of you is self-employed.
No matter how long you have been married, there will be some property that can be defined as marital property. When divorcing in Kentucky in a situation where assets and debts are present, a divorce attorney is required. An attorney can help you understand your rights and your options as your divorce moves forward.