When Kentucky couples get a divorce, there are many issues to sift through. Among the most complicated is how to divide property. Kentucky uses the equitable distribution model. That means the court strives for fairness when determining who should get what property. Even if people are aware of that from the beginning, it does not eliminate the likelihood of discord.
There can be disagreements regarding who is entitled to what, how each side might have contributed to its acquisition and the relevance of specific factors that the court will consider when making its determination. Knowing the law for these matters is key from the outset.
What will the court consider with property division?
Dividing property is not based on a formula where the marital property is shared and the separate property remains separate. There is nuance. The court looks at the contribution of both parties to acquiring the property; its value; how long they were married; and the economic situation.
It can be difficult to assess how each person contributed to the acquisition of the property. Most might think that the person who earned the income and paid for most or all of it should be entitled to it, but it is not that simple.
If, for example, a person was a homemaker and allowed the breadwinner to work without distraction, that could be a mitigating factor in dividing the property equitably. There might have been substantial contribution to the wage-earner getting the education and training to earn the income to afford various items.
The property must also be accurately appraised. A marital home can have immense value. One side might want to sell it while the other wants to retain it. That could be due to having children and wanting to limit the upheaval they will experience as part of the divorce.
The duration of the marriage is important. A shorter-term marriage will have accumulated less capital in general than a longer-term one. Economic considerations are essential. The objective is to maintain the marital lifestyle and property division can be a fundamental part of that.
People should prepare for property disputes in a divorce
From the beginning, it is wise to understand the primary factors based on the law. This will give a strong foundation to make an argument to reach a reasonable outcome. Not every case is the same and people have various claims and reasons as to why they believe they are entitled to certain properties. In high-asset cases with complex property division, it is useful know the basics and be fully prepared.