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Lexington Kentucky Family Legal Blog

How can high assets work against you in divorce?

Kentucky residents like you may run into some trouble with asset division during divorce if you have over a certain amount of assets to your name. Today, Lisa L. Johnson, attorney at law, will discuss the limitations of high assets and how they can create potential hurdles.

First, know that assets don't just apply to money itself, even if things like savings or retirement accounts are often some of the biggest hurdles for you to deal with. Assets also include things like vacation homes, rental properties, private aircrafts, boats, and any motor vehicles you might own.

The basics of a visitation schedule

When Kentucky parents get divorced, some people may expect to have joint custody of the children. If a court awards sole custody to one parent, however, this means the other parent will likely have visitation rights. In this situation, people usually have to set a visitation schedule.

There are two different kinds of visitation a court might award. FindLaw says the first kind is a fixed visitation schedule. This means that a judge might set certain times when the non-custodial parent can see his or her children, such as every Saturday and certain weekdays. A judge may also lay out where these visits will take place. The other type of visitation is reasonable visitation. This means that the parents can come up with their own visitation schedule. Some people may wonder why a court might set a visitation schedule in some cases but not in others. Most of the time, a judge might opt for a fixed visitation schedule if people have had a conflict-filled divorce. If parents have cooperated throughout a divorce, though, a court may be more likely to let them find a visitation schedule.

Is Kentucky a 50/50 divorce state?

Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, which means that you and your spouse would probably not have to split everything down the middle if you got a divorce. This is often a beneficial situation when it comes to various types of assets in which you feel you hold more interest than your soon-to-be ex.

Of course, even half-and-half division is complicated sometimes. Not every valuable item in your total marital estate would be as simple to divide as a bank account or money market fund. Here are some of the ways that this equitable system could affect various complex assets. 

What should unmarried men know about paternity?

When you have a child in Kentucky, you may want to enjoy a healthy relationship with this child. If you are not married to the child's mother, the situation may sometimes be more complicated. However, there are still ways you can demonstrate that a child is your son or daughter.

The state of Kentucky has several ways of defining the relationship you have with your son or daughter. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a court might consider you to be an alleged father. This means you have not taken a paternity test but think you are a child's genetic parent. If you are a presumed father, then a court typically recognizes your relationship to the child, even if the court has not officially confirmed this family connection. Additionally, a court might call you an adjudicated father after it recognizes that you are your child's parent.

Mediation's benefits can make it worth your time

You and your spouse may not get along any longer, but that doesn't mean that you can't put aside your differences to come to an agreement on how to divide your property. Whether you have large assets, unusual property or other concerns, your attorney can help you learn more about the mediation process and why it's beneficial.

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution. With this process, you won't necessarily end up having to seek help distributing your property in court. You work with a third-party mediator and resolve your property division conflict in a series of sessions that inform you of your options and how they could impact you in the future.

Will nesting be beneficial to you and your children?

If you are preparing to file for divorce from your spouse in Kentucky and are researching ways to go about deciding on a child custody arrangement, chances are you may have been bombarded with information overload about the options you have. While helpful at times, such drastic differences in opinion and suggestions can make it difficult for you to identify a single approach that will be best for the needs of your family. 

According to NBC News, a relatively new concept that you may have heard about is the idea of "nesting." This type of parenting would require you and your spouse to share an apartment or another temporary residence and to maintain your current home as the primary residence for your children. Say for instance you and your soon-to-be-ex take turns to spend time with your children every other weekend. The weekend you are with your children, you will live at your home and your ex will be at the shared apartment. The next weekend, you will both trade residences. Research shows that children who have a stable household and are able to maintain their routine despite the change in their parents' relationship, experience many positive benefits. 

What are the challenges surrounding pet visitation?

As you and other Kentucky residents are aware, life can be complicated for parents after a divorce. They often have to deal with child support, visitation schedules and conflicting parenting ideals, and they often do not get along. What if you have no children, but you and your ex-spouse have a pet you both love? Do you face the same sort of difficulties as divorced couples who have children?

As Divorce Magazine explains, pet custody issues are becoming increasingly prevalent with divorcing couples. It may come as no surprise to you that many pet owners love their dogs, cats and other animals like their own family members. Regardless of whether they have human children, many pet owners think of their pets as their children, as well. Consequently, sharing a pet after a divorce can be emotionally devastating for many reasons, including the following:

  • The courts consider pets to be personal property and do not tend to grant shared custody and visitation as they would with children.
  • Divorced spouses must often agree between themselves on sharing time with the pet.
  • One spouse may be afraid the other will take the pet and not return it.
  • Ex-spouses who share time with the pet will also need to share the costs for food, veterinary care and other expenses.

Do you really own high-value antiques?

If you and your spouse represent one of Kentucky’s high-asset couples, you likely own several antiques and perhaps many of them that your either inherited from family members or bought over the years. While all of them undoubtedly have sentimental value, however, do they have actual value? This is the question you will need to answer when you negotiate your property settlement agreement in the event the two of you divorce.

People tend to think that the older an object becomes, the more valuable it gets. People likewise tend to think that all old objects are antiques. Unfortunately, both beliefs can often be far from the truth. In the world of collecting, old objects fall into the following three main categories:

  1. Antiques: objects made at least 100 years ago
  2. Vintage: objects made between 75-100 years ago
  3. Retro: objects made in the 1950s and 1960s

House Bill 528 one of the best joint custody laws in nation

Historically speaking, the Kentucky family court system was quick to name one parent as the "primary" custodian of a child. The courts would then grant that parent a large majority of parenting time and the other parent would essentially play the role of "visitor" in the child's life. This type of system not only created a win/lose situation for the parents but also, it served as a detriment to the child as well.

According to Courier Journal, Kentucky's win/lose custody system all changed when Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 528 into law in summer of 2018. The law is the first of its kind not just in the state but in the entire nation, as it gives a child of divorce the presumption of shared physical and legal custody. What this means is that if both parents are fit caregivers, the courts will award equal time to both. 

How to divide credit card debt in divorce

As you move through the divorce process, you'll come to find that property division demands quite a bit of attention. Along the way, you shouldn't turn a blind eye to debt division, as this will impact you now and in the future.

Many divorcing couples share credit card debt. If you find yourself in this position, the following advice will help:

  • Create a list of all your credit card debt: This is particularly true if you have a balance on more than one credit card, as it's easy to lose track of how much you owe.
  • Pay off joint credit cards: If you have enough money in the bank, speak with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about paying off the joint credit card debt together. This allows you to eliminate one more thing from your plate.
  • Divide up the debt: If you're unable or unwilling to pay off the debt, divide it evenly on separate credit cards. This allows both individuals to take on an equal amount of debt, thus tackling it however they best see fit.
  • Keep detailed records: For example, if the other person runs up a large bill without your knowledge, you shouldn't be on the hook for this expense. To protect against this, cancel joint credit cards and separate the debt shortly after deciding to divorce.
  • Learn more about bankruptcy: Before you divorce, it may be in your best interest to file for bankruptcy. If you're drowning in debt, especially credit card debt, bankruptcy may be able to help. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate or reduce your joint credit card debt.
  • Visit with a credit counselor: You can do this on your own to gain more insight into the steps you should and shouldn't take as you prepare for divorce. You are likely to pick up tips that help you deal with your current situation, as well as the financial challenges you'll face after your divorce is finalized.
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