VISITATION CHALLENGES AFTER A MILITARY DIVORCE

Structuring visitation schedules can be challenging for military families, especially when one parent is in another state or deployed overseas. After a military divorce in Kentucky, circumstances may change without much notice. One parent may be absent for most of the time and unable to make visitation appointments. If, however, that parent is not scheduled for transfer of deployment over summer vacation or Christmas holidays, the lost parenting time might be made up then.

Although the custody agreement under these circumstances cannot specify fixed dates for visitation, it can specify details about who will be responsible for costs related to the child’s transportation, along with who will be responsible for transporting the child to train stations or airports, and who will fetch him or her. For military parents who are unable to spend time with their children, there is the option of virtual visits. Video or Skype visits can be arranged to ensure regular contact between deployed parents and their kids.

Military parents are typically afforded reasonable flexibility with relation to visitation. In some cases, visitation can be assigned to close relatives. If a judge considers such an arrangement in the best interests of a child, visitations with aunts, uncles or other close relatives can replace parental visits. Another option — if it suits the military parent’s schedule — is to assign additional visitation time when that parent is closer and available.

Military divorce, child custody, visitation and more can be complicated issues to manage in a manner that will be in the best interests of the child. Kentucky parents who have to deal with these challenges may find the support and guidance of a skilled attorney who is experienced in matters related to military divorce and family law invaluable. A seasoned divorce attorney can assist with drafting and modifying visitation plans and child custody arrangements.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Child Visitation: What You Need to Know“, Accessed on Feb. 28, 2017

WILL A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE SUIT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?

When a Kentucky couple gets married, the intertwining of their lives start. Very soon, property, finances, children, pets, emotions and more will tie them together. Many couples will be happy ever after and grow old together, but some will reach a stage at which they might choose to go their separate ways. Untangling all those ties that were formed during the marriage can be an emotional process that sometimes brings contention into a divorce.

However, couples who can work together one last time may find that a collaborative divorce can dissolve their marriage within a shorter time and at a lower cost than a litigated divorce. A collaborative divorce is a mutual effort in which attorneys who are suitably qualified to handle collaboration represent the divorcing parties. After consultations with their respective attorneys, they will meet with other professionals who make up the team of collaborators.

The team will include experts to advise on issues involving finances, taxes, real estate, children and more. Negotiations to reach a settlement will not be adversarial, and the aim will be to reach agreements that will be fair and in the best interests of all parties. If the process is unsuccessful, the couple may proceed with litigation in a court, but without the same legal representation. New attorneys must be appointed to provide legal counsel.

Although collaborative divorce has become a favored method to end marriages in Kentucky, it might not be suitable for all. A consultation with an experienced collaborative law attorney may provide answers to questions and explanations of other options such as mediation and litigation. Once fully informed, the chosen method of divorce can proceed under the guidance of a seasoned divorce attorney.

Source: durangoherald.com, “Collaborative law reflects a different approach to addressing conflict“, Angie Buchanan, Feb. 11, 2017

MILITARY DIVORCE NEEDS SPECIALIZED GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

Ending a marriage will always be a complicated process with many legal intricacies. When it is a military divorce, federal law and the complexities of military life make the process even more challenging. For this reason, any Kentucky resident who is involved in the military and considering a divorce might achieve the best outcome with the support and guidance of an attorney who focuses on military divorce.

Here are some of the intricacies that might be missed by an attorney who is not familiar with military family law. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act rules that military retirement can be included in the property division process. However, calculating an equitable settlement that includes inflation adjustments is complicated.

In addition, the Survivor Benefit Plan protects the spouse of a retiring service member, but the legal aspect becomes complex when the couple is no longer married upon the member’s death. If the issue was not addressed during divorce proceedings, it might be too late. Similarly, the division of retirement money must form part of the divorce procedure and not left until the service member reaches retirement age.

These are but some of the questions often asked years after a military divorce — which, sadly, is too late. The mentioned issues often arise for the spouses of service members, who themselves have to deal with complicated legal matters. Cutting corners in a military divorce may be detrimental to both. Securing the support and guidance of a Kentucky attorney who is skilled in the military-specific procedures and jurisdictional requirements may be the most appropriate step to take.

Source: military.com, “Don’t Cut Corners During a Military Divorce“, J.J. Montanaro I, Accessed on Feb. 10, 2017

THE HIDDEN FEE OF DIVORCE AND CERTAIN RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Oftentimes when a couple marries, they look upon everything in their lives as shared property. Unfortunately, if the couple later decides that a divorce is the best course for them, then they may view sharing assets differently. It is possible some Kentucky residents were surprised when they were faced with an unexpected cost when forced to divide one account.

When an employer offers its workers a 401(k), the vast majority of employees may not be aware that there can be a dark side to this benefit. In the event that an employee is headed for a divorce, he or she may also be looking at an exorbitant fee for being forced to divide that account with the former spouse. These fees are charged by the company that keeps the account records and can vary from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand. Many times, the attorney handling the dissolution for the client is not aware that this particular account division can result in financial backlash.

This fee is referred to as a qualified domestic relations order, abbreviated as a QDRO. Some employers do not pass the cost on to just the employee involved, but it is sometimes spread out to all of the employees through the overall costs. Some attorneys have made efforts to effect change in fees that these companies charge by filing suits against the plan administrators. Not every company charges excessive prices, and some have not raised the fees in years, but there are still employees who may face a cost of over $1,200.

Some companies claim that the fees are increased when paperwork has errors and has to be reprocessed. Regardless of the reasons, for the employees who are charged these prices for the division of an asset, it may feel like an additional penalty. Every Kentucky resident who is going through a divorce may consult an experienced attorney who can guide him or her through the process.

Source: gazette.com, “The divorce penalty: a 401(k) fee can add insult to injury“, Feb. 4, 2017

THE DIVISION OF DIVORCE: SPLITTING ASSETS AT A MARRIAGE’S END

You’ve worked hard for most of your life to get where you are, and you and your family have been enjoying the fruits of your labors. But what happens to all you’ve accumulated when your marriage suddenly comes to an end?

Many hard working, high-earning Kentucky residents are rightfully concerned about what happens to their property during a divorce, and what they stand to lose. This article seeks to answer some questions about this often touchy and very important subject.

What is mine and what is ours?

The state of Kentucky recognizes two types of property as they pertain to a marriage: marital and non-marital. Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage through purchase, gift or inheritance, even if the title has only one name. Property may include land and buildings, cars, home furnishings, jewelry, and more.

Non-marital property includes anything you owned prior to getting married, or an item which was gifted or bequeathed to you specifically. You may need to provide proof if your spouse challenges your claim to sole ownership of an asset.

Dividing the assets

Perhaps the best way of ensuring you keep the things you hold most dear in a divorce is to attempt to come to an agreement outside of court. While this agreement may or may not have to be presented to the court for approval, it will be legally binding regardless. A non-litigated division of property will often produce the most satisfactory results.

If you are unable to reach an amicable agreement regarding the division of marital assets, the court will make the final decision on who gets what. In Kentucky, a judge will generally start by dividing the value of the marital property evenly; however, there are often circumstances which prompt an uneven split, if it is deemed more equitable. This decision will be based in part on:

 

  • The individual financial situations, including non-marital property and income
  • The individual contributions to the marital property
  • Who will stay in the home, if anyone
  • Where the children (if any) will live
  • If any marital property was destroyed inappropriately by either spouse after the established date of separation

 

It is worth remembering that debts are also considered marital property and should be taken into consideration. Debts (and assets) acquired after the date of separation, however, are non-marital property. For that reason, receipts and bills from around that time could prove crucial to one’s case.

Entering proceedings prepared

No one wants to see his or her hard-earned assets lost needlessly, and that doesn’t have to happen. By being properly prepared with all the relevant documents and evidence, it may be possible to avoid unpleasant surprises during a divorce.

One of the best ways to prepare for a divorce is to work side by side with a successful attorney. A skilled lawyer with the tenacity and knowledge to see your case through may be exactly what is needed to ensure a fair and agreeable settlement in the end.