IS KEEPING THE MARITAL HOME IN A KENTUCKY DIVORCE A GOOD IDEA?

Many Kentucky residents believe that their home is the most valuable asset they own. At first glance this may be true, but when things such as taxes, repairs and maintenance — not to mention the mortgage loan payments — are taken into consideration, that number can drop quickly. That may not necessarily mean anything right now, but in a divorce, the true value of the house could be crucial.

Many people would risk going to court in order to keep the house without truly understanding what keeping it would mean. Meeting the mortgage loan and tax payments may not have been much of an issue during the marriage, but after a divorce, when the same income must now support two households, it could be an issue. The same could be said for a busted water heater or a broken air conditioner. Making those repairs during the marriage may have been somewhat of a challenge, but after the divorce, it may be nearly impossible.

To make matters even worse, some Kentucky residents might consider giving up a portion of other assets in order to have the marital home. An asset that has the same worth on paper may actually be worth more after all of the expenses of owning a home are taken into consideration. People may contribute to retirement accounts voluntarily, but the account is not foreclosed if contributions are not made regularly.

Of course, all of this assumes that the party keeping the home will be able to obtain financing without the benefit of the other party’s income. It may not always be the best idea to keep the marital home in a divorce. Before making any decisions that could lead to regret in the (near) future, it may be beneficial to sit down and calculate what the true cost of keeping the home would be.

Source: CNBC, “When it comes to divorce, not all assets are equal“, Sarah O’Brien, Sept. 22, 2017

WHAT TO EXPECT WITH PATERNITY TESTING

When paternity is unclear, DNA testing is often used in order to clear up any confusion. DNA testing can be done through either the collection of tissue or fluid samples. For the potential father, samples may be taken via a blood draw or by having the inside of the cheek swabbed. In order to test children, fluid or tissue samples can be taken in the same manner after birth, or fluids can be collected while a baby is still in utero.

For those looking to seek custody or support orders, DNA testing must be court ordered and performed at an approved facility. After collection, samples will then be processed which can take anywhere from five days to one month, depending on the type of sample collected. If matching DNA is not found, the supposed father will not be held liable for providing for the child. However, if there is a match, the mother will be given the opportunity to seek monetary support and the father may have the right seek custody or visitation.

It is believed that paternity testing is extremely accurate, and the process of completing DNA testing is really pretty simple, with few risks involved. While paternity testing can be fairly expensive, for those parents in Kentucky seeking support, custody or visitation the cost may seem minor compared to all that may be lost by failing to establish paternity. With legal assistance mothers and/or potential fathers may seek to obtain court orders for DNA testing and, if parentage is successfully established, further help may be sought in the effort to resolve any child support and/or custody concerns.

Source: americanpregnancy.org, “Paternity Testing“, Accessed on Sept. 21, 2016

 

ESTABLISHING PATERNITY GIVES YOU RIGHTS TO YOUR CHILD

Did you and the mother of your child formally establish that you are the biological father at birth? If not, you have no legal rights to the child under Kentucky law if you and the mother were not married at the time of the birth. Unwed parents do not enjoy the same legal assumption regarding paternity as married couples do.

In order to enjoy all of the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood, you will need to legally establish your paternity. For instance, if the relationship between you and your child’s mother sours and ends, without the legal recognition that you are the biological father, you have no right to custody or visitation. On the other hand, establishing paternity is necessary in order for you to pay child support.

Even if your relationship is strong and you remain together to raise your child, you may not have crucial legal rights when it comes to your child. You may not have the right to be involved in major decisions regarding your child’s medical care or educational issues. You can gain those rights, however, by being legally recognized as the child’s father.

There may be other instances in which not being the legal father of your child could cause issues for you, your child and (perhaps) the mother as well. Under ordinary circumstances, the issue of paternity may not arise until or unless there is also a problem to solve. If that is the case, it would more than likely be in the best interests of everyone involved for you to file a paternity action in a Kentucky court in order to establish your legal rights and responsibilities as a father. It may even be better to do so when you and the mother are getting along in order to avoid any additional, and possibly unnecessary, challenges.

THE CHOICE OF DIVORCE ATTORNEY COULD MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Kentucky residents who are planning to end their marriages have many decisions ahead of them. One of them is to choose an attorney who will represent their interests and help them achieve the best divorce settlement possible. Even in an amicable divorce, the need for legal counsel does not go away.

Kentucky residents needing counsel as they begin their divorce proceedings may need to remember that they are interviewing the attorney. Yes, they are looking for someone who understands family law and can tell them what to expect and protect their rights. However, many people tend to act as though they are being interviewed instead of the other way around.

When embarking on this process, an individual may need to focus on finding someone who can act more as a partner in the process than the leader. The individual’s life is the one affected by all of the decisions, so he or she should be an integral part in making them. No one should simply let the attorney take the reins and make decisions on his or her behalf. This is especially the case if a couple intends to retain control over their settlement by negotiating it themselves through mediation or collaborative divorce.

An attorney should ensure that the client understands the legal ramifications of decisions and knows what rights he or she has under certain circumstances. The final decision belongs to the Kentucky resident whose future is on the line. Choosing the attorney who will back you up, keep you from making a potential mistake and help ensure that your divorce process goes as smoothly as possible could make all the difference in the outcome.

Source: wtop.com, “How to choose the right divorce attorney“, Dawn Doebler, Sept. 6, 2017

WHEN YOUR SPOUSAL SUPPORT JUST ISN’T ENOUGH

During your marriage, you stayed home to raise the kids or experienced a number of other circumstances that kept you away from the job force. This left you fully financially dependent on your spouse. There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, it is a situation in which many Kentucky residents find themselves. However, you got a divorce and you now find yourself struggling financially despite being awarded spousal support. What can you do?

Spousal support payments, in most cases, occur on a temporary basis. It is usually just enough to help the individual receiving it find some financial footing. Unfortunately, some struggle to do so in the specified time frame. If you find yourself in such a situation, you may have the ability to obtain an alimony modification.

Support basics: How to qualify

Alimony is not something granted in every divorce case. If you and your spouse do not come to agreeable terms regarding this matter on your own, it will be up to a court to decide if you get it, how much you receive and for how long. In order to decide, a judge will look at various factors, including:

  • How long your marriage lasted
  • The marital standard of living
  • Your age and the age of your spouse
  • Your economic need
  • Your spouses’ ability to pay

As previously stated, support duration is generally temporary. However, in select cases, long-term spousal support is possible.

Circumstances can change

Okay, you’ve been divorced for a while and receiving your alimony payments. Unfortunately, you are finding that it just isn’t enough or that you are going to need it longer than which your order specifies. Depending on the wording of your alimony order, you may be able to have the payment amount, duration or both adjusted. To do this, you will have to provide evidence that your need has changed.

The word need can be rather controversial when dealing with a support modification. The payor is likely to fight any request to increase the amount or duration, so your need must be a documented change in circumstances.

For example, your order specifies that you are to receive payments for five years, allowing you to go to school and have time to find a good paying job. You find, however, that school takes longer than expected or you struggle to find employment when done with school. This may qualify you for an alimony modification.

Post-decree adjustments, you never know until you try

Post-decree spousal support adjustments are not necessarily easy to achieve. This is not a fight you have to take on by yourself, though. With the right legal assistance, you can take all the steps necessary to petition for the modifications desired and significantly increase your odds of success.