HIGH ASSET DIVORCE COULD BE EASED WITH PRE-MARITAL PLANNING

A little planning can go a long way, especially when it comes to finances. When people make plans involving pre-marital financial matters, that usually means a prenuptial agreement. But one can make plans to keep non-marital property separate — even in a high asset divorce — with a little extra forethought. Kentucky residents may be able to utilize some of the suggestions shared in a recent news article. 

One suggestion shared by the author is to keep pre-marital money in a separate account and to open a joint account after the marriage. Another suggestion applies to real estate. A person could keep the home in his or her own name and also make all payments for the home from his or her personal account, not a joint account. Any upgrades to the home should come from the personal account as well and not from the use of joint funds. 

A basic suggestion that applies in most financial situations is to keep good records. A complete record of payments and where they came from can potentially help you prove the separate nature of the property. Certain property appreciation will be considered marital property, and some other types will not. To definitely keep some money separate, some individuals choose to keep pre-marital funds in a revocable trust. 

High asset marriages can sometimes lead to high asset divorce. There are ways to protect those assets, however. Pre-nuptial agreements can work, but there are other methods. In Kentucky, many individuals choose to use the services of an experienced family law attorney to protect their assets. 

Source: brides.com, “How to Protect Your Assets Without a Prenup“, Jaimie Mackey, Oct. 14, 2017

USING YOUR CHILD CUSTODY AGREEMENT TO EASE THE TRANSITION

Are you getting a divorce? If so, you may have the same concerns that other Kentucky parents do regarding making the transition from one household to two as easy on your children as possible. Your child custody agreement may be a good place to start.

When you sit down with the other parent to negotiate your custody arrangements and parenting plan, you can include provisions that may help your children adjust. For instance, most children thrive on routine, so if you both keep the same basic schedule for them, it could make things easier. They may get up at the same time each day, eat their meals around the same time and be required to do their homework before playing.

You may consider establishing some rules that are non-negotiable regardless of which parent the children are with at the time. When parents are consistent, the children know what to expect. This goes for discipline as well. If your children know that the consequences for breaking the rules are the same at each house, they may be less likely to break them — or at least know what they face if they do.

As difficult as it may seem during the divorce, it is possible to continue working together as parents after it is finalized. Your child custody agreement and parenting plan are the first part of that journey. The agreements may not come easy at first, but if you keep your children’s best interests in mind as you sit down to work out the details, you may find that the process goes more smoothly than you thought possible. Your agreement will still need to meet the court’s approval, so it may be beneficial to consult with a Kentucky family law attorney to help ensure that it does.

Source: thespruce.com, “7 Ways to Parent More Consistently With Your Ex“, Jennifer Wolf, Accessed on Oct. 14, 2017

WHAT SEEMS TO BE BEHIND THE SURGE IN GRAY DIVORCE?

Starting life over again without a spouse after the age of 50 might seem like a frightening prospect, but that has not stopped numerous couples here in Kentucky and across the country from doing just that. In fact, so many have taken this leap of faith that the term “gray divorce” was coined to describe it. This may leave many people wondering what is behind this phenomenon.

Of course, many people have their theories. Even so, many of the reasons for divorcing later in life are the same as the ones facing younger couples. Substance abuse by one party can make remaining together an impossibility. Domestic abuse could also prompt a spouse to want out of the relationship. This may not have been an option in past decades, but numerous resources exist these days to help victims leave. 

A couple may have drifted apart during the time they raised their children, but failed to notice it until after the kids left home. The lack of a sustainable marital relationship thereafter could lead to a couple’s separation. People can fall out of love as well, and with the changes in society’s views on divorce, couples no longer feel as though they have to stay in a loveless relationship.

Every couple is unique, so other reasons may apply to their situations. Regardless, many Kentucky couples over the age of 50 now divorce instead of remaining together. They may not have to worry about children as part of their proceedings, but they do have other unique considerations such as rebuilding retirement accounts and other financial issues since they could be reaching the end of their careers.

Source: thespruce.com, “Definition of Gray Divorce“, Sheri Stritof, Accessed on Oct. 8, 2017

 

YES, ESTABLISHING PATERNITY MATTERS

You have a child with your girlfriend. You know the baby is yours and you are ready to take on the responsibility of being a father. Unexpectedly, your significant other leaves you and takes the child with her. According to the laws of Kentucky, without establishing paternity you may not have any rights to your own child.

The paternity issue is a big one. Fathers never seem to realize how few rights they have until they lose their children and the mothers are holding all the cards. This predicament is why establishing paternity as soon as possible is so important. What are the benefits of paternity establishment and how do you accomplish it?

Why bother?

Establishing paternity offers quite a few benefits for Mom, Dad and child. First, for mothers, after parentage is determined it is possible to seek child support. If awarded, this would force you as the father to provide some financial assistance to meet the needs of the child.

For fathers, establishing paternity enforces their rights to their children. It will also allow you to seek physical custody or visitation.

Finally, for children, it allows them to know their fathers on some level. Some will get to spend time with their dads thanks to custody or visitation orders, others will simply gain access to important information that they may need as they grow — such as family medical history — and all will hopefully receive the financial support that they need.

Different ways to establish paternity

There are two basic ways to establish paternity in Kentucky. The first is to sign an acknowledgement of parentage. This is something to which both parents must agree and complete voluntarily.

The second way is through DNA testing. DNA testing is pretty straightforward. An approved lab technician or other medical provider will collect cell and blood samples from the dad and baby in order to compare their DNA. This can be done before or after a child is born. However, testing while a baby is still in utero carries some risks — one being the potential for miscarriage.

Don’t miss out

Yes, establishing paternity matters. No father should have to miss out on time with his kids over a question of parentage. The sooner you legally establish paternity, the sooner you can fight to gain access to your child.

SHOULD KENTUCKY COUPLES CONSIDER COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?

These days, many Kentucky couples shy away from the traditional courtroom battles still used in Hollywood movies for dramatic effect when marriages end. The cost, time and emotional toll this divorce process can have on a family makes it undesirable. This is why many couples now turn to other options such as divorce mediation or collaborative law to resolve their issues in a less contentious, time-consuming and expensive way.

Before going down the road of collaborative divorce, Kentucky couples may need an understanding of what it requires. Like the traditional adversarial process and divorce mediation, each party should have his or her own attorney. The difference is that this method requires the parties and their attorneys to enter into an agreement that if the process fails, the parties must find new representation.

This means having to start over if it becomes necessary to go to court. If the parties fail to work in good faith or fail to adhere to the rules regarding transparency, it will be necessary to obtain new counsel, which often means additional cost. In addition, the time spent attempting to negotiate a settlement will be lost. Therefore, it is important for couples to understand the commitment they make before entering into the collaborative law process.

Understanding the potential downsides of the collaborative divorce process may help couples determine whether it is right for them. Many people say that the benefits of it outweigh the possibility of having to start over as well. In the end, it is a personal decision that every couple needs to make, and it never hurts to understand what is at stake, good or bad, before moving forward.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Why Collaborative Divorce is a Route Worth Considering“, Nikki Martinez, Oct. 1, 2017