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Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Law Blog

Your divorce and social media

Social media is part of life. You may be one of those in Kentucky and elsewhere who check your Facebook or Instagram account before your feet even hit the floor in the morning. If you are in the habit of updating your status whenever something goes right or wrong during the day, you may be posting even more often now that you are going through a divorce.

However, legal advocates for divorcing couples recommend prudence and restraint when using social media during the divorce process. Just as your social media accounts are a normal part of your life, they are also fast becoming a normal part of investigations by divorce attorneys. You can be certain than your future ex's legal team is just as interested in your posts as your many friends.

Financial steps to take prior to getting a divorce

When you hear your spouse utter the word divorce for the first time, you will be shocked, saddened, disheartened, stressed and very emotional. Even if you had a sinking feeling in the back of your mind that this day would come, it is still difficult to wrap your head around. In order to prepare for a divorce, you need to take some important steps financially in Kentucky.

Now is the time to find all of your financial documents. You don't want to wait until the last minute to find credit card statements, bank statements, retirement account information, tax returns, appraisals for various items and your mortgage paperwork. You will also want to find the deed to your home and title to your vehicle.

Making the custody exchange appointment easy for all

The exchange of child custody by parents or guardians is never easy. Even if you get along with the other parent, who very well could be your ex, the situation could be difficult for everyone to endure. If you think you are having trouble with the custody exchange just think of what your children are going through emotionally. Here's how you can make the exchange appointment easy for everyone in Kentucky.

Try to bring a neutral third party to the exchange, especially if you and the other parent do not get along at all. This person can either conduct the exchange for you, be a buffer between you and the other parent or keep the child busy while you and the other parent talk.

Can my spouse really “take everything” in divorce?

We've all heard probably awful accounts from friends or seen movies where a couple gets divorced and one spouse takes all of the assets, leaving the other spouse with little or nothing. For some individuals, a misunderstanding of the divorce process and fear of losing everything in a divorce may keep them trapped in a marriage they wish to leave. If you worry that divorce will strip you of all of your assets, be sure to carefully examine your circumstances through the eyes of the law to get a strong grip on how your own divorce may play out.

In practice, it is not particularly common for one spouse to take the other spouse to the cleaners in a divorce. This sort of winner-takes-all narrative is more common in movies and television than it is in real life, much in the same way that it is not particularly common or wise for a family to first learn the contents of a person's will when he or she passes away. While these scenarios can happen, they are not the norm.

The complexity of financial gifts and divorce

Financial gifts can become quite a problem when a couple decides to get divorced in Kentucky. Many people understand what assets can and cannot be divided when filing for divorce. However, many don't understand what happens with financial gifts that have been received by one or both spouses during the life of the marriage.

For the most part, a gift received by just one spouse during marriage will be the sole property of that person upon divorce. This means that even in a community property state, the monetary gift will remain the possession of the person who received it when divorce is filed. This is not automatic though. The recipient spouse must be able to prove that the gift was intended to be for the recipient only.

Is your spouse trying to hide assets that belong to you?

Divorce is seldom easy, even when both spouses agree it's best to go their separate ways. If you're one of many spouses in Kentucky preparing for divorce proceedings at this time, you may have already overcome several challenges as you resolve various issues that arise. Perhaps your main concerns are parenting-related because, like most good parents, you want to shield your children from the negative implications of the situation.

However, if you're concerned about financial matters, specifically, whether your spouse might be trying to deceive the court regarding assets and marital property, that's a problem that may be difficult to resolve by yourself. The good news is that there are support resources available to help you rectify a hidden asset problem because, not only is such behavior mean and unfair, it also happens to be highly illegal.

Risks of no-contest divorce

For many couples who want to quickly and simply resolve their marriage, a no-contest divorce is an excellent option. When executed properly, no-contest divorces address the legal issues at hand for both parties and allow spouses to end their marriage simply and quickly. However, no-contest divorce does have some weaknesses that require careful consideration, even for those who believe that they want a civil, responsible divorce process.

In broad strokes, no-contest divorce provides streamlined dissolution at the expense of some potentially important protections to both spouses. The more complex the marital property between the couple or the presence of a child that requires detailed parenting and custody agreements may make no-contest divorce impractical. In order to successfully use the process, couples must reach fair agreements about some potentially complex issues, and failing to address these fully may create problems later on, after the divorce is legally final.

Grandparent visitation and a child’s wishes in Kentucky

When parents choose to raise a child separately, the focus is often placed on the best interests of the child, but examined through the lens of the parents' preferences, as they are the ones who usually have the first say in assembling a parenting and custody plan and presenting it to a court for approval. However, parents are not the only ones who may have a vested interest in a custody arrangement and may wish to have input on the process.

In Kentucky, both the grandparents of a child and the child may have input on a custody arrangement with the approval of the court. Grandparents may petition a court for their own reasonable visitation privileges, even in instances where their own child, one of the parents, is already deceased. However, this right generally does not supersede a parent's right to raise the child. In some cases, a court may consider the rights of grandparents over the right of a parent, if the grandparents are the ones practically raising the child to begin with.

Uncontested divorce is not ideal for every couple

When a couple comes to the conclusion that it is best to divorce rather than continue a marriage, they may place a premium on keeping the process civil and responsible. In many cases like this, especially for those with very few assets, it is useful to file for an uncontested divorce rather than litigate every portion of the matter in court. Uncontested divorce is often a welcome relief to couples who fear the divorce process or do not want to stretch the process out unnecessarily.

However, even when couple's wish to divorce amicably, uncontested divorce is not for everyone. It is usually most effective for couples who have assets simple enough to divide fairly quickly, without haggling over the minute details, or couples who have no children to consider.

Can I include child custody in a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement can offer excellent protections and detailed guidance, provided the couple who creates it does so with a nuanced understanding of the legal issues at hand. If an agreement includes stipulations surrounding child support or child custody, a court will almost certainly toss out at least the relevant provisions, and possibly the entire agreement, leaving couples with many fewer protections than they expected.

The law does not allow prenuptial agreements to include terms surrounding child support, because it is not up to parents to determine their own level of obligation to a child. Child support is a legal right of the child that the court enforces, not a privilege of a parent.