PROTECTING FINANCES POSSIBLE DURING DIVORCE

The dissolution of a marriage in the state of Kentucky can certainly bring about emotional distress, but it can also bring some financial pains. This is particularly the case for those who are not used to making financial decisions independently. However, taking things one step at a time during the process of divorce can help to make the transition more palatable.

One of the most important considerations during the divorce process is what will happen to retirement savings. The court may provide what is called a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, which determines how these savings are divided. That may, however, have some financial consequences; for instance, it might be beneficial to roll money received from a future ex’s 401(k) into an IRA account to avoid paying any taxes on this money.

It is also essential to update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts. Life insurance policy designations also must be updated following divorce. This is necessary to ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive the money in one’s accounts years down the road.

Achieving a settlement at the negotiation table may be possible for couples who are willing to work toward finding common ground rather than going to trial. However, in some cases, traditional divorce litigation is inevitable, which means a judge will have to make essential financial decisions for the couple. Either way, a Kentucky attorney will work to make sure that one’s best interests are protected during the process of diving assets and dealing with matters such as spousal support.

Source: ajc.com, “Victim of ‘Divorce Season’? Protect Your Finances“, Kevin Voigt, March 29, 2017

 

INCARCERATION CAN COMPROMISE CHILD CUSTODY

Incarcerated parents in Kentucky or other states typically lose some of their parental rights. Depending on the reason for incarceration, most parents in jail continue to be mothers or fathers — the fact that they made mistakes that landed them in prison do not make them monsters. Conviction does not sever the bond between a child and a parent, nor does it cancel child custody.

Unfortunately, the nature of the circumstances limit the means for jailed parents to maintain the parent-child relationship and be an active parent. If the other parent chooses to prevent contact between the prisoner and the child, there is not much he or she can do. Without the ability to stay in touch and be included in the life of the child, the danger of losing that bond becomes real.

Even if the parent in prison has joint custody of the child, the other parent has no legal obligation to allow phone calls, give the child letters from the jailed parent or bring him or her for visits to the prison. Furthermore, that parent need not consult with the prisoner on most decisions made about the child. However, a parent in jail does not automatically lose custody and may retain some rights when it comes to major decisions such as authorizing selective surgery.

Although the parent who is free can petition the court to strip the other parent of custodial rights, the prisoner has the right also to file suit to force the other parent to bring the child for visits. This will involve seeking the help of an experienced Kentucky family law attorney who is skilled in protecting the rights of parents in child custody battles. A seasoned attorney can advocate for prisoner throughout legal proceedings.

Source: livestrong.com, “Parental Rights of a Father in Jail“, J.E. Myers, Accessed on March 17, 2017

 

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE: WORKING TOGETHER ON YOUR SEPARATION

If your only notion of what happens during a divorce is based on what you’ve seen on television dramas, you likely don’t know about a new approach to divorce that’s gaining in popularity. You won’t see it on any soap opera, because its whole purpose is to remove the drama from divorce.

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a relatively new approach to settling matters of family law. Parties can choose to settle a dispute via non-combative channels outside a courtroom. A popular option is the collaborative law process, or collaborative divorce, and it’s available to men and women here in Kentucky.

A brief explanation of collaborative law

Collaborative law originated as a concept in the 1990s. The idea was to try a new approach to divorce, one that focused on civility with an aim toward fairer settlements and solid agreements. The practice has gained wide acceptance, and has spilled over into other arenas, including employment and business negotiations.

A collaborative divorce must begin with the premise that both parties are willing to work harmoniously to settle their issues preceding a divorce or separation. Issues that can be resolved may include:

 

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation/access agreements
  • Division of marital assets

 

How does it work, and why might I choose it?

Both spouses and their attorneys meet in a neutral setting to discuss the matters at hand. It is supposed to be an open and honest discussion, with a mutual goal of a positive resolution. Unlike during a mediation session, no third-party is present, and the two parties are encouraged to communicate directly with one another. The intended end result is a mutually satisfactory and legally binding agreement.

A collaborative divorce has many benefits. Couples with children may find there is less or even no fighting over or around the children, which is certainly in the children’s best interest. Couples and their families may feel less stress during the process, as well.

Saving time and money are also major advantages of a collaborative divorce. Time spent in a courtroom can be expensive, and the longer the process drags on, the more it costs. A protracted divorce can also interfere with personal schedules, including missing time from work.

Choosing your legal partner for divorce

Not every divorce can be handled through collaborative law. Badly damaged relationships or abusive marriages are likely not suitable to a cooperative approach. For those who can, however, there is the opportunity to experience divorce with a minimum of drama.

To assess whether a collaborative divorce is for you, consider speaking with a lawyer who is very familiar with both family law and the collaborative approach. With an experienced lawyer by your side, you can enter into this process with the assurance of reliable representation at all times.

COMMON ISSUES TO CHECK IN A HIGH ASSET DIVORCE

Ending a marriage is never easy, and when it involves a complicated estate with large amounts of money, businesses, properties and other complicated assets, it might need professional assistance. Having the right guidance may help to avoid the typical hurdles of a Kentucky high asset divorce. While protecting the high-value assets, there will also be cars, the dog, the kids, visitation rights, alimony and the house to consider. One thing that can jeopardize a person’s post-divorce financial future is agreeing to anything just to get away from the situation.

Guilt is another aspect that can move a person to give away more than what is necessary. Advisors say dissolving a divorce is similar to the closing of a business, and emotions must not be allowed to play a role in the process — even though it sounds cold. Hiding assets can have a detrimental impact on the credibility of that spouse and may reduce the chances of a reasonable divorce settlement, and so will the failure to give a proper account of all assets and liabilities.

Some advisors say many high asset divorces involve one spouse who uses sophisticated ways to hide assets. For that reason, it might be wise to investigate, even if nothing is uncovered. The circumstances of each divorce are unique, and accepting advice from friends and family — based on their experiences in divorce — could be detrimental.

When it comes to seeking help, the most appropriate step to take might be to retain the services of an experienced Kentucky divorce attorney. A lawyer who is skilled in the navigation of a high asset divorce can recognize a spouse who is asking to receive more than what he or she has the right to claim. A seasoned attorney can protect the assets of the client while making sure that nothing is left unaddressed.

Source: ireport.cnn.com, “Top 10 Mistakes in High Net Worth Divorces“, JoeyBattah, Accessed on March 10, 2017

 

HOUSE NOT READY FOR PROPOSED BILL TO DELAY DIVORCE IN KENTUCKY

A family court judge in Kentucky tried to convince legislators to put a few hurdles in the way of divorcing spouses to get them to stop and see if such a drastic step is avoidable. It did not work — this time. Lawmakers decided not to consider the proposal to delay the divorce process for couples with children. After hearing testimony on the proposed bill, the House Judiciary Committee found no consensus for changing the state’s existing divorce laws.

The proposed bill would have required the divorce cases of couples with children to be postponed for six months to see if there was a possibility of reconciliation. Couples would then attend a hearing with a judge who would determine whether the breakdown of their marriage is irrevocable. A provision was also included that allowed for the state of the couple’s relationship to be assessed by a mental health professional.

Another family court judge spoke against the proposed bill, saying that although she respects the intentions, it could intensify a stressful situation for both parents and children by dragging out a decision that has already been made. Furthermore, she said the additional costs and time could cause financial problems for divorcing couples. Reportedly, couples whose divorces are handled by the judge who proposed the bill are already paying higher legal fees due to the additional procedures he requires.

Divorce laws often change over time, and Kentucky residents might benefit from consulting with an experienced divorce attorney before filing for divorce. A lawyer can provide answers to any questions they might have, and explain the procedures under applicable laws. The attorney can handle the filing of the papers in the court along with any litigation or alternative divorce proceedings that may follow.

Source: kentucky.com, “Bill that would slow divorce cases in Kentucky stalls in House“, John Cheves, March 2, 2017