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Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Law Blog

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.

Is your prenuptial agreement unfair?

Even if a couple enters into a prenuptial agreement before marriage, the process of planning a divorce may prove that the agreement is invalid. If the agreement is not written fairly, one spouse or the other may successfully challenge it and secure different terms.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to hold water legally, both parties must fairly disclose their financial behavior, including all their assets, income and debt. If one party hides assets or debt from the other, for instance, the prenup may not hold up. Likewise, a spouse may claim that they signed an unfair or misleading document if he or she did not consult with an attorney beforehand.

Staying together for the kids may make matters worse

There comes a time in many parents' lives when staying together as a couple simply doesn't make sense anymore. Depending on the nature of the relationship, some parents may postpone divorce for the sake of the children, which seems like a very attractive option for many individuals. However, the common strategy of "staying together for the kids" is often not as effective as parents may hope.

First, it is worth considering any danger that staying married places on you or your children. If you live in an abusive relationship, then you should strongly consider doing everything you can to leave. Leaving abuse is often difficult, but it is among the best things you can do as a parent.

What is equitable property division in divorce?

Here in Kentucky, we use equitable distribution guidelines to govern how couples split their assets and liabilities when they choose to divorce. Unlike several other states like Texas, New Mexico and California, which require spouses to split up their marital property evenly, spouses in Kentucky enjoy some flexibility in their property division negotiations.

However, this does not necessarily make things any easier in the divorce process. In order to successfully obtain the divorce you need, you must reach a fair and equitable property division agreement with your spouse. So what is "fair and equitable" in this instance? A court may consider a number of factors outside of the monetary contributions that a spouse makes to the marriage, such as the contributions of homemaker to the marriage.

How to divorce proof your holidays

When you stood in a Kentucky courtroom and listened to a judge pronounce the terms of your divorce, you may have experienced mixed emotions. On one hand, you may have felt relief that your martial problems were finally coming to an end and you were free to set your sights on a new, successful future. Then again, you were saying goodbye to a way of life you had known for years, perhaps decades, and such farewells are seldom without sorrow.

In the days and weeks that followed your divorce settlement day, you and your children may have spent time making plans for your future. Perhaps you took a little vacation together or created bucket lists where each of you added your own goals. Overall, you might have faced several challenges along the way, but generally felt like everything was going to be okay, that is, until you starting preparing for Thanksgiving.

Be sure you work out terms of medical child support

Divorce between parents often means that each party must work together to create fair agreements outlining their respective obligations to the ongoing care of their children. In some cases, parents do not fully address every issue that may arise between parents raising children separately, and only set themselves up for frustration later on. This is especially common when it comes to the ongoing medical care of children.

Medical child support is generally required beyond standard support obligations, but individual support and custody agreements may vary significantly, depending on the resources of each parent. One thing that it is crucial to address in each parent's case is the individual responsibilities that each parent bears as well as the authority they wield when it comes to medical decisions.

Pursuing nonparental custody of a child

Seeking custody of a child is always a complex process, even in favorable conditions. However, when individuals other than the biological parents of a child choose to seek custody, they must prepare themselves for a difficult path to caring for the child they love. While courts generally prefer to keep a child with his or her parents, certain situational justifications of placing the child elsewhere do deserve consideration.

If you hope to obtain custody of a child who is not biologically yours, you must present a compelling case to the court expressing why gaining custody of the child is ultimately in his or her best interests. Nonparental custody decisions usually come down to whether or not the court hearing the case believes that handing custody over to someone other than a parent truly does benefit the child or removes the child from some imminent danger.

Defining your priorities in divorce

When divorce makes it's way to the front and center of a relationship, it is often difficult to maintain perspective, especially in the early stages. It is crucial for spouses who hope to make the most of their divorce or avoid unnecessary difficulties in the process to identify their individual goals in the divorce.

Simply put, very few spouses "get everything" in a divorce, especially if there are children involved. If you find yourself facing divorce, you should consider carefully how you plan to proceed. While you may feel in the moment as though this is your big opportunity to finally punish your spouse for his or her numerous shortcomings in your marriage, this is an unwise strategy.