CAN A COURTROOM BATTLE BE AVOIDED IN A HIGH ASSET DIVORCE?

Did you accumulate significant assets both before and during your marriage? Do you own a business? Are you now facing a high asset divorce? If so, you have a lot at stake in a Kentucky divorce. It may be in your best interests to try to avoid a courtroom battle.

You may believe that it would be easier just to give in and give your spouse whatever he or she has asked for just to make sure that the proceedings don’t degrade into a contentious court battle. However, you may not need to go to those lengths in order to avoid having a judge make decisions on your behalf. You could retain control over the property division process and come to an agreement with which both of you are satisfied.

Finding a knowledgeable family law attorney who understands the complexities of property division could help you find solutions that keep you out of court and preserve as much of your assets as possible. With a skilled negotiator, you could still provide for your spouse in a manner in which the court will approve. If you own a business, keeping your spouse from obtaining an interest in it could also be accomplished.

You could enlist the help of a Kentucky attorney who prepares for the worst and hopes for the best. In some high asset divorce cases, negotiations do break down and the parties end up in court. Ensuring that your attorney will vigorously fight for your rights whether at the negotiating table or in court could provide you with the peace of mind that you need.

GETTING RETIREMENT BENEFITS IN A MILITARY DIVORCE COULD CHANGE

Being married to a member of the Armed Forces comes with numerous benefits. Depending on the length of service and marriage, those benefits become an important issue in a military divorce, whether here in Kentucky or elsewhere. A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could change the retirement benefits that many ex-spouses receive under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.

Many former military members apply for and receive disability benefits. The amount depends on the percentage of disability assigned to the former service member. Under current law, if that percentage is under 50 percent, the amount of their military retirement benefits decreases in direct proportion to the amount of disability received. Disability benefits are not taxed, so many veterans choose these benefits in lieu of taxable retirement benefits.

If a former spouse is receiving a portion of the veteran’s retirement, his or her portion ordinarily drops as well. Some courts order the service member to make up the difference. One veteran from Arizona appealed such a ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in his favor. The court held that he should not be forced to make up that difference, a ruling that could have ramifications for many former spouses across the country.

The court encourages judges to consider the possibility of the service member receiving disability at some point in the future when dividing retirement benefits in a military divorce. This could change the strategy employed in many of these divorce cases. It will take time to see the full effects of this ruling, and any attorney who handles military divorces here in Kentucky or elsewhere in the country is undoubtedly watching to see what lower courts do as the lawyer continues to advocate for his or her clients.

Source: military.com, “Supreme Court Ruling May Cut Spouses’ Divorce Pension Payments“, Amy Bushatz, May 18, 2017

WHAT DO A COMMANDING OFFICER AND JAG DO IN A MILITARY DIVORCE?

The simple answer is not much. A Kentucky service member’s divorce and separation are considered private, civil matters. For this reason, a commanding officer and attorneys with the Judge Advocate General’s office do not have much involvement, if any, in a military divorce. The main involvement the military has in a divorce surrounds benefits, pay and property.

Many Kentucky service members mistakenly believe that JAG can help with a divorce. A JAG attorney may provide some general advice, but nothing more. Service members are encouraged to obtain civilian counsel to represent them in family matters such as a divorce.

However, any civilian attorney chosen will need to be knowledgeable in the unique aspects of a military divorce. Federal and state laws, along with military regulations, come into play. For example, a service member or dependents might have rights under laws such as the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act or the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Certain steps must also be taken in order to garnish a service members pay for child support, spousal support or other reasons. Without knowledge of these laws, a family member or service member could lose out on important rights and benefits.

Going through a divorce can be complex enough, but when it is a military divorce, the issues facing the parties can quickly become even more of a challenge. Those challenges can be overcome, and the parties may still negotiate their own settlement, but they must still ensure that any agreement reached complies with the laws and regulations at each level. For this reason alone, involving a military divorce attorney could prove invaluable.

Source: thebalance.com, “Military Divorce and Separation“, Rod Powers, Accessed on May 13, 2017

HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP SAVE YOUR BUSINESS IN A DIVORCE?

You more than likely spent a great deal of time, money and effort growing your business into something you are proud of and is successful. Now that you face a divorce, you may be concerned that your soon-to-be former spouse may receive a portion of your business, which could potentially jeopardize the futures of you and your business. A Kentucky attorney can help you protect your interests when it comes to your business.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it could also take a village to protect your business interests. Your attorney may rely on forensic accountants, appraisers and other parties to gather the evidence to meet your needs. Your business has many moving parts, and the right individual should closely and carefully examine each one of those parts.

For example, a determination needs to be made regarding whether the assets of your business are marital or non-marital. A valuation date needs to be determined. Different valuation methods exist, and choosing the right one to use could have a significant impact on the value ultimately given your business. Once these steps are complete, a strategy to keep your business intact during the property division phase of your divorce needs to be made.

As you can see, protecting your business in a divorce is a complex process that requires the knowledge of many individuals. Attempting to handle the intricacies of property division alone could jeopardize the future of your business. It would more than likely be to your benefit to involve a Kentucky attorney in this process to help ensure the survival and continued success of your business.

ESTABLISH PATERNITY NOW TO AVOID PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE

Many Kentucky couples are in committed relationships, yet remain unmarried. These couples often have children, and may not realize that the state does not automatically assume that the mother’s partner is the biological father of the child. Simply putting the father’s name on the birth certificate is not enough to legally establish paternity.

This might not present a problem in the beginning, but any number of issues could arise that are affected by the biological father not being recognized legally. For instance, if the couple’s relationship ends, issues surrounding custody, visitation and child support will undoubtedly arise. Without establishing paternity formally, the father has no legal rights or responsibilities when it comes to the child.

Before any proceedings for custody or support can be heard by a Kentucky court, paternity must be established. Neither of you may like taking this step, but it is essential. You and your partner might know what the results will be, but frankly, the court was not present when the child was conceived. Therefore, proof must be provided, and most often that is done through DNA testing. Barring any surprises, once overcoming that hurdle, other important issues can be resolved.

Going through a paternity action and any related custody and support issues can be an emotional and heart-wrenching experience. Even if a couple is still happy and together, establishing legal paternity should still be done in order to ensure that there are no barriers between the biological father and the child. A compassionate and knowledgeable attorney can guide and assist you through the process.