Lisa L. JohnsonAttorney at law
Practical Solutions, Personal Service For Your
Divorce And Family Law Issues

Lexington Kentucky Family Law Blog

Use a prenup to protect an inheritance in property division

When Kentucky couples consider marriages, many of them might hesitate to discuss prenuptial agreements and thereby cause contention. Conversations about marital contracts have always been difficult, but in particular circumstances, they are vital. An example is when one spouse expects an inheritance that he or she wants to keep out of any property division process that might occur in the case of a divorce or one party's death.

A premarital inheritance, or one received during the marriage by one spouse only, will not form part of equitable distribution -- except under certain circumstances. To keep it separate, the recipient must hold the inherited funds entirely separate. As soon as any part of the inheritance is commingled with marital funds, it may become divisible. For example, if funds from the estate finance an extension to the family home, that will be seen as marital funds.

Indemnity clause can enforce promises made in property division

Untying the knot in a Kentucky marriage can be a challenging affair. Matters of most concern typically include child-related issues and property division. Each spouse will want to make sure he or she receives a fair share of the marital assets. However, some do not realize that they will also be responsible for a portion of the debt. Their first inkling might be to pay off all debts before filing for a divorce, but that might not be the best option.

If one spouse wants to keep the family home, he or she might have to refinance the mortgage. This will require a reappraisal of the property, and that value could be a negotiation point which might affect the amount of debt for which that spouse will be responsible. For this reason, it might be wise to hold back on paying off debts in a hurry.

Stay-at-home parents: Don’t downplay your marital contributions

Staying at home to raise your children and take care of the home can feel like a privilege, a sacrifice or an inevitability, depending on your situation. But regardless of how you feel about staying home, in the event of a divorce, it can feel like a disadvantage.

Stay-at-home spouses can be scared that they will be penalized or shortchanged for not making significant financial contributions to the marriage. However, before you start to worry or panic if you are in this situation, understand that non-financial contributions are just as valid as financial contributions when it comes to property division during a Kentucky divorce.

Three problems with do-it-yourself divorce

Divorce is a transition from a partnership back into single life. Whether this decision is amicable or not, emotional upheaval is likely. Those that find themselves attempting to navigate through this process may succumb to the temptation to do it themselves. This is not always wise.

Three specific reasons to avoid a do-it-yourself divorce include:

  • Self representation. There is something to be said for having a zealous advocate on your side during a divorce proceeding. Without an attorney, you must represent your own interests. 

Property division errors that can ruin post-divorce finances

When untying the knot of marriage in Kentucky, the emotions and many important decisions that must be made by each spouse can become overwhelming. Professionals who help individuals who are in the throes of a divorce with property division and other issues say there are common errors made by many. Sadly, these mistakes can be detrimental to post-divorce financial stability.

One error many divorcing spouses make is not understanding the extent of the marital assets, and not knowing where assets are kept. Dividing property is typically much more than uncomplicated math calculations. The complexities of the marital estate, such as investment portfolios and shares in addition to retirement funds such as 401(k)s, IRAs and more, might indicate the need for financial advisers to assist both parties.

Prenuptial agreements can deal with more than property division

Reportedly, more and more couples nationwide are signing prenuptial agreements, including in Kentucky. However, many misconceptions exist about marriage agreements, the most common being that they are only used to protect spouses in property division situations in the events of divorces. The truth is that a prenup can deal with many matters and is typically used to set up a framework that will deal with any disputes that might arise. It may even include issues such as gambling, overspending, infidelity, substance abuse and more.

A prenuptial agreement can protect an inheritance or gift from forming part of property division, and it can list the details of the assets each spouse brings into the marriage while also providing protection in the event of one spouse's death. Some people say a prenuptial agreement protects only the spouse with high assets; however, a one-sided contract will likely be rejected by the court. A well-drafted agreement will even safeguard one spouse who took care of the household and the children while putting a hold on his or her career.

High asset divorce of Herjavec revisited after revealing letter

People in Kentucky may be aware that, since the turn of the eighteenth century, it has been said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Any spouse in a high asset divorce who tries to hide his or her riches may do well to remember that phrase. The 55-year-old reality TV star, Robert Herjavec, of Shark Tank fame, who got divorced in March 2015, might be called back to court on allegations that he misrepresented his company's worth at that time.

Herjavec has since married Kym Johnson, a former pro-dancer on Dancing with the Stars -- another reality TV show. However, Daniella Vasinova, who was his alleged mistress at the time of his divorce, has now written his former wife, Diane Plese, a letter in which she reveals that Herjavec -- who was said to be worth approximately $200 million -- allegedly bragged about preventing his ex-wife from getting half his assets. She claims that he told her that he had arranged for his $100,000,000 business to be valued at about half of its actual value.

What is considered when applying for grandparents' rights

Laws determining visitation rights for grandparents differ from state to state. In Kentucky, laws governing grandparents' rights have not been changed or revised since 1996. However, the interpretation and administration of the existing laws have been impacted by case law over the years. As a result, Kentucky is classified as "permissive" with regard to grandparents' visitation.

A significant change is the fact that, instead of expecting the grandparents to prove that the child will be harmed by not allowing a grandparent-child relationship, the court now uses a version of the best interests of the child as the basis for decisions. Along with other more common considerations, the court can now rule against spiteful and vindictive actions by a parent. Furthermore, instead of evidence that is clear and convincing, it now recommends a standard of preponderance of the evidence.

Child custody matters to consider when a parent relocates

Families in Kentucky relocate all the time for various reasons. However, when a divorced parent needs to move away to benefit from family support in another location, an employment opportunity or a remarriage, child custody issues can complicate such plans considerably. Invariably, parents who cannot agree on these matters will likely wind up in court.

The court will consider factors that include ensuring the child will maintain some continuity and stability in his or her life. Questions the court will address will focus on how a move would impact the parenting time of the other parent as well as how the breaking of ties with current friends and the community will affect the child. The distance of the move will also matter, with more consideration needed for a relocation across the country.

Property division and a manipulating, business-owning spouse

When a Kentucky divorce involves one spouse who owns a business, the manner in which that person conducts business during that time becomes a matter of vital importance. It is not uncommon for spouses to manipulate finances to benefit themselves when it comes to property division. The other spouse might want to look out for tell-tale signs of such financial deceit.

If the business owner implies that the company is unexpectedly struggling after years of success, making much less money and that it might have to close, the other spouse may have a reason for concern. There have been cases of business owners abandoning their companies, leaving their spouses without the know-how of running it in vulnerable positions. The situation can be saved if specific steps are taken.