Get A Free Consultation Local: 270-872-0911
Toll Free: 800-482-1391

Dowan Law OfficesDivorce And Criminal Law Attorneys

We Are Experienced Divorce And Criminal Law Attorneys

Providing more than just legal advice, our team offers practical solutions because we understand what it means to be part of a family.

Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Law Blog

Can a prenuptial agreement determine child custody?

Prenuptial agreements are excellent tools that couples may use to protect each other and themselves as they approach marriage. However, these agreements have very strict limitations in certain areas, and may prove unenforceable if they include terms that violate these limitations. Before you and your future spouse create a prenuptial agreement, be sure that you understand how to avoid these trouble areas.

Two of the most commonly-misunderstood areas of a marriage that a prenuptial agreement cannot govern are child custody and child support in the event of divorce. Child custody involves the rights of at least three individuals, and the preferences of each party or their ability to uphold a certain parenting and custody agreement may change over time.

Don't overlook your debts in your divorce settlement

When a couple chooses to divorce, they often do not realize initially just how far-reaching the process is, and how dangerous to each spouse's future a poorly executed divorce can be. Unlike marriage, which is a relatively simple procedure, divorce is innately much more complex. Once two people marry, they jointly own many of each other's assets and debts, requiring a detailed agreement over how they will divide this property in order to successfully finalize a divorce.

Debt is often overlooked or poorly addressed in divorce, and can lead to serious issues down the road, well after each party would surely prefer to be free and clear of each other, legally speaking. However, if a couple does not completely address their debt, they may suffer frustrating consequences later on.

Should you keep your home after divorce?

When a couple who owns a home divorces, determining how to address this significant asset is often one of the most crucial aspects of the entire process. For many couples, the home they bought as a part of their married life together is the single largest asset either of them has, making it very difficult to fairly divide the asset and finalize the divorce.

If you and your spouse face this dilemma, it is important to consider all your options. First, it is wise to assess whether or not one of you hopes to keep the home after the divorce. If so, the party who keeps the home may need to compensate the party who does not. In the absence of other assets to negotiate a fair settlement, the spouse who keeps the home may consider a structured payment plan to compensate the other spouse if he or she cannot afford to "buy out" the other spouse's claim to the value in the home.

What if my divorce order leaves out my name change?

Divorce can come knocking when you least expect it, or maybe just when you are least prepared to properly deal with it. For many couples, the divorce process is far more complicated and time-consuming than they realized. But a poorly-executed divorce may leave many issues unresolved and waiting to cause problems once the spouses finalize it and begin moving on with their respective lives.

For many couples, changing one spouse's name is a matter that is easy to overlook in a divorce, mostly because the process is so overwhelming without proper legal guidance. Unlike marriage, which is a simple process that a couple can accomplish in a matter of hours or even minutes, divorces are innately far more complicated and require more time and attention.

Amicable divorce: Myth or realistic possibility?

If you've ever reviewed statistics for divorce rates compared by state, you may have noticed that Kentucky ranks among the top listed states for highest divorce rates in the nation. Of course, presuming that most marriages in one state or the other will automatically end in divorce is like saying every person who steps outdoors into sunlight will get burned. It's impossible to predict whether a marriage will last a lifetime just as there's no foolproof way of knowing who will get sunburn.

In either situation, however, there are often precursors that suggest a higher risk for a particular outcome. For instance, those with very fair skin or a history of severe blistering in the sun may likely assume if they stay outdoors in the sun too long without protection, they might suffer a burn. The same goes for married couples. If there's a communication breakdown, unresolved disputes or a cataclysmic event that causes damage one or the other spouse feels is irreparable, divorce may be more likely to occur.

Avoid these mistakes to keep your divorce civil

When divorce arrives at your door, it is difficult to know who to respond. You may feel a strong need to preserve yourself and your interests above all else, or you feel tempted to act out against your spouse and use the divorce as a stage to enact some form vengeance on them to make up for your emotional injuries. These tendencies are reasonable and normal, but not necessarily wise or helpful.

In fact, you may wish in retrospect that you had considered your actions more carefully once you pass through this difficult season and begin rebuilding your life as a single person. Before you take any action that may complicate your divorce, consider these helpful boundaries.

Does leaving my marital home affect child custody negotiations?

When you and your children's other parent choose to divorce, you face a number of very difficult decisions. Not only must you address your property division in the divorce, you must reach an agreement about how both of you will share the responsibilities and privileges of child custody. Unfortunately, child custody disputes are often where divorces truly turn nasty and require delicate handling.

Often, one parent may choose to get his or her own place and leave the other parent in the marital home with the children, to establish some space and allow all parties to process the divorce with some distance. While this does make a great deal of sense on a practical level, it may compromise the parenting rights of the parent who chooses to move out.

Remaining respectful in divorce is often a choice

Divorce is always difficult on some level, even when all parties involved want the divorce and believe it's a good thing. Unfortunately, divorce deals with many of the issues that most people find very difficult to discuss fairly and calmly. If you and your spouse face a divorce, no matter what the grounds, it is wise to prioritize keeping the matter as civil as possible, to ensure that both spouses can make it through the entire process fairly, keeping each party's rights protected.

Keeping things civil in a divorce does not happen naturally. Few processes hold the ability to stir up contentious human responses like divorce, necessitating careful planning if you hope to keep the matter respectful.

Child custody does affect your tax returns

When you and your child's other parent choose to raise the child separately, it is important to understand that the custody agreements you reach may carry significant legal implications and may even affect your tax returns significantly. While many parents prefer to avoid the hassle of working out a professional child custody agreement with an attorney, this path often leads to greater frustration later on, not less.

While it is certainly worth the effort to keep things between you and your child's other parent amicable, don't make the mistake of prioritizing civility between you over your actual legal and financial obligations. Depending on the age of the child, you may have to continue to navigate this relationship for years. It is wise to deal with these complicated issues in a professional way as soon as possible to set you both up for success in the long run.

All in the family: Stepparent adoption

You met a very special person, and while you were nervous about dating someone who had a child, you grew to love the child as much as the parent. When you proposed marriage, you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your life with your loved one and his or her child. Perhaps your marriage vows even included your dedication to the child.

Time has passed, and your bond with your stepchild has grown stronger. In fact, there may be days when you feel like the child has always been a part of your life. You may not say it aloud, but you get a secret thrill when your stepchild slips and calls you Mommy or Daddy. Maybe now is the time to make that happen.