COULD THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE METHOD WORK FOR YOUR CASE?

When you first tied the knot, you may have believed that your marriage would stand the test of time and you would remain married for the rest of your life. Of course, you may also find yourself — as many people do — facing divorce. This situation may have blindsided you or you may have felt it coming for some time. Whatever the case, you now must determine how to approach your legal proceedings.

As a successful and wealthy individual, you may have particular concerns when it comes to the division of assets. Because a drawn-out court battle may not suit your tastes or the tastes of your soon-to-be ex, you may wish to consider a more amicable approach, such as the collaborative divorce method.

Collaborative divorce

When divorcing couples choose to participate in collaborative divorce, they may feel more in control of the situation. Rather than having a judge make decisions regarding settlement outcomes, you and your spouse can work together with a team of professionals to remain civil, discuss possible terms and come up with the best settlement for your situation. Of course, in order for this method to have a higher chance of succeeding, both you and your spouse need to have a willingness to negotiate and compromise.

Informal setting

This type of approach may also prove more appealing because the process has a less formal setting than courtroom litigation. You and your attorney, as well as your spouse and his or her attorney, come to prearranged meetings in order to discuss the issues. Because you may have particular concerns regarding your assets, a financial specialist may also play a role in your proceedings. Of course, any outside professionals need to remain unbiased in order for the process to be collaborative.

Presenting your wishes

Collaborative divorce also allows for you and your spouse to have a say in what you hope the outcomes of the negotiations will yield. Therefore, you can present your desires and determine the aspects about which you feel willing to compromise and those about which you would prefer to remain adamant. If successful, you and your ex-spouse will feel comfortable with the outcomes and have saved time, money and stress in the process.

Speaking with an attorney

Because you likely do not have extensive knowledge on the collaborative divorce process, you may wish to find out more about this alternative dispute method. In order to gain reliable information, you may wish to consult with a seasoned Kentucky attorney experienced in the collaborative process.

FINANCES ARE A MAJOR ISSUE IN A KENTUCKY DIVORCE

Ending a marriage is an emotional time for most Kentucky couples. That may contribute to the fact that many are surprised when the sum total of their marriages comes down to dividing their property (and custody issues if there are children involved). No matter who or what precipitated the divorce, finances end up taking center stage in most proceedings.

Numerous financial issues need addressing in a divorce. It may seem trivial in the moment, but looking at the budget is a good place to start. Before any fruitful negotiations can begin, each party needs to determine what it will take to live post-divorce. The same resources that supported one household during the marriage now have to support two households. Understanding the current and future pictures could help determine which way the negotiations proceed.

Even issues such as retirement and Social Security benefits need some consideration. In addition, some people fight for certain assets without considering the tax ramifications of doing so. Failing to consider every advantage and disadvantage of a certain asset could result in a financial disaster at some point. Few people are lucky enough to avoid a drop in resources after a divorce, and planning for the future is essential in order to ensure some financial security after the divorce is final. Recovery from the financial impact of a divorce is possible, but only with planning.

Figuring out the best course of action to take in order to minimize the monetary losses of a divorce may require help. A Kentucky family law attorney could prove invaluable in this instance. Having a knowledgeable legal ally who routinely helps others through these trials could increase the likelihood of reaching a satisfactory settlement.

Source: ftleavenworthlamp.com, “Don’t Let Divorce Ruin Your Finances“, Arielle O’Shea, June 22, 2017

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DIVORCE INVOLVES A RETIREMENT PLAN?

After spending years together, a Kentucky couple more than likely dreamed of what they would do during their retirement years. They may each have diligently contributed to their employers’ 401Ks or pension plans in the hopes of making those dreams a reality someday. When it became clear that divorce was on the horizon, each of them may have begun to wonder what would happen to those plans.

The wealth accumulated in a retirement plan during the marriage is more than likely going to be subject to division during the divorce in the absence of a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. Of course, the parties could just agree to keep their own plans. However, the next question revolves around what happens if one spouse’s plan has a significantly higher amount in it than the other.

The spouse with less may still be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s plan. To protect that amount, that individual will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order from the court. A QDRO, as it is commonly referred to, allows the allotted amount to be removed from one spouse’s account and put into the retirement account of the other spouse without the usual taxes and penalties. Be aware that these orders only apply to pension plans and 401Ks. 

As with any other divorce issue, a Kentucky couple may have numerous questions regarding the division of retirement accounts. Consulting with an attorney could provide the answers needed in order to make the best decision possible for each party. Starting over as a single person once again will undoubtedly have its challenges, but having a solid financial foundation with which to begin could be invaluable.

Source: thebalance.com, “How Retirement Plan Assets are Divided in a Divorce“, Deborah Fowles, Accessed on June 18, 2017

GET YOUR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS IN ORDER PRIOR TO A KENTUCKY DIVORCE

There is more to ending a marriage than simply physically and emotionally separating from a spouse. Kentucky couples more than likely have several financial endeavors together that make up the marital estate. Each party ought to consider getting their financial affairs in order prior to filing for divorce.

Documentation regarding assets and liabilities needs to be gathered as soon as possible. This could take some time, so starting early is a good idea. With this documentation, each party can start the process on equal footing. This is especially important if one party handled most of the financial duties during the marriage. The other party could end up at a disadvantage when it comes time to divide property.

Tracking the family’s current expenses could provide an insight into what will be needed in the future once the parties are divorced. In most cases, Kentucky couples will need to sustain two households with the same resources that used to provide for one. Each party needs to have at least a working idea of what it will take to live post-divorce. This information could also help with property division.

Many family law attorneys also caution their clients not to make any decisions before or during a divorce that could upset the financial apple cart. This only makes the situation more difficult — perhaps not today, but at some point, such a decision could come back to haunt one or both parties. Instead, each party should save what money they can by watching expenses and living conservatively. Be sure to get advice from the appropriate source since friends and family may mean well, but every family is unique and what worked for one person may not work for another.

Source: azcentral.com, “7 ways to ready your finances for divorce“, Elizabeth Renter, May 31, 2017

WHAT DO I GET TO KEEP IN MY KENTUCKY DIVORCE?

Divorce is a complex process, and it is normal to have concerns about what you will be able to keep after the process is complete. Property division is one of the most difficult and emotionally charged issues in a divorce, and it can be useful to better understand the Kentucky laws regarding marital and non-marital property.

The decisions that you make during a divorce will have a significant impact on your life for years, even decades, to come. Understanding your rights and knowing what to expect is a significant step toward a post-divorce future that provides you with both stability and security.

Marital versus non-marital property in Kentucky

Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, which means that property owned by the couple, while eligible for distribution during divorce, will not necessarily be split 50-50 between the two parties. The court or an agreement drafted out of court must address all marital property, which is anything accumulated or purchased over the course of the marriage. Marital property, sometimes called community property, generally includes:

  • Wages earned by the spouses over the course of the marriage
  • Homes purchased and furniture purchased over the course of the marriage
  • Interest earned from investments
  • Mortgage
  • Family home

Generally, non-marital property is not subject to division and distribution during a divorce. Non-marital property generally includes:

  • Property that was owned and purchased before a marriage
  • Inheritance received by one spouse
  • Property or money earned after the date of separation
  • Separately held bank accounts
  • Personal injury claim proceeds
  • Gifts to one party

In addition to marital property, a couple will also equitably share marital debt after a divorce. Any debt accumulated over the course of the marriage is subject to division. You would be wise to fight for a settlement that does not leave you with an unfair portion of this debt.

Protecting your financial interests

Divorce is a major legal step, but it will also have a significant financial impact on your life as well. If you wish to avoid litigation over your property division settlement or want to ensure the protection of your financial interests well into the future after your divorce is final, you will find it beneficial to reach out to an experienced attorney. There is much at stake during your divorce, but a strong future is possible with the right support and help.

You can find out what property you may be able to keep and how you can pursue a fair resolution to your property division concerns by seeking a complete evaluation of your unique situation.