WHEN DO GRANDPARENTS HAVE A RIGHT TO SEEK CUSTODY OR VISITATION?

There are times when a court may consider a grandparent’s role critical to the well-being of a child and grant visitation to the grandparents. When parents are unfit or absent, a grandparent may be able to seek custody of the grandchild. Grandparent rights are a complex issue, and you may find it beneficial to seek guidance regarding the legal options that may be available to you.

What is in the best interests of the child?

The goal of any custody or visitation agreement is the protection of the best interests of the child. In matters involving complex issues such as disputed custody or grandparent visitation rights, the court will carefully weigh all factors and attempt to come to a final decision that allows for stability and prosperity for the child.

If you believe that it would be in the best interests of your grandchild for you to have regular visitation or even custody rights, you have a difficult path ahead, especially if the biological parents are not in agreement with you. The court will consider the following when considering your case:

  • Does the child have at least one active, present and supporting biological parent?
  • What is best for the child and for his or her continued welfare?
  • What are the wishes of the child?
  • Do you have the physical ability to care for a child?
  • Is there evidence that one or both biological parents have a substance abuse problem?
  • Will the child have to move to a new school or community?

These are examples of the questions the court could ask and attempt to have answered as they pursue a final order that works best for the children.

Where do you begin?

As a grandparent, you may have grounds to seek a legal remedy to your concerns regarding your access to your grandchildren. When dealing with complex custody issues, it could be best to first seek a complete evaluation of your case in order to know how to proceed. Your relationship with your grandchildren is important, and you have the right to take the steps necessary to understand your options and preserve this vital relationship.

 

CHILD’S FEARS LEAD TO MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY AGREEMENT

Recently, a family court judge made the determination that a prior custody plan that provided for joint legal custody was no longer suitable for one child’s needs. The parents had married in 2006 and were divorced by 2009. The custody plan for their then-toddler awarded physical custody to the mother while both parents shared in the legal custody. The father of the child is of the Muslim faith while the formerly Christian mother had converted for the sake of her new spouse.

After the divorce, the mother reverted to her Christian faith. The parents’ custody plan did not specify with which religion the child would be raised; therefore, both parents taught her the tenets of their individual beliefs. Over time, the child reported concerns to her mother and school officials that her father was pressuring her to practice the Muslim faith exclusively or he would move with her to his native country.

The mother sought to relieve her daughter’s fears by seeking sole legal custody. After the hearing, the judge ruled that the situation merited a change in the original child custody orders and granted sole legal custody to the mother. In this case, the age of the daughter did allow her to express an opinion that the court took into consideration. Kentucky parents who believe that their custody orders need to be modified based on a change in circumstances can seek information concerning appropriate modifications from an experienced family law attorney.

Source: reason.com, “Child Custody, Religion, and Children’s Reactions to a Parent’s Religious Demands“, Eugene Volokh, Feb. 15, 2018

 

GARAGE SALE; DRESS BURNING HELPS WOMAN CELEBRATE DIVORCE

There are many life events that people enjoy celebrating with family and friends. While a divorce may not be the first occasion that comes to mind for a celebration, there may be many reasons why a former spouse would want to formally note his or her new-found freedom. Kentucky residents who are hoping for a fresh start after an unhealthy marriage may find their own ways to mark this life-changing moment.

Recently, one woman chose a unique way to publicly celebrate the end of her unhappy marriage. According to her account, her former husband engaged in infidelity and abusive behavior. She received her final divorce decree at the end of January and decided to honor the occasion by holding a garage sale with a party-type theme.

The highlight of the day was when she chose to burn her wedding dress. The woman displayed the garment for others to inscribe messages on it with markers first. After the attendees noted their thoughts, she burned the dress. As she prepared to light the fire, she stated that it was a symbolic message to others that they do not need to remain in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship.

The woman’s former spouse is purportedly still facing criminal charges in connection to an assault and declined to comment publicly on the garage sale. The woman listed a variety of household goods as well as several possessions from her ex-husband that she had been awarded during the settlement. While this is an unusual manner in which to celebrate a divorce, it may have provided this woman the opportunity to heal from her personal experiences. Kentucky residents who are seeking their own escape from a miserable marriage may benefit from consulting with an experienced and compassionate attorney who can help them find their own path to a new beginning.

Source: wtol.com, “Woman burns wedding dress at divorce garage sale“, Feb. 11, 2018

A BUSINESS IN A HIGH ASSET DIVORCE REQUIRES IN-DEPTH VALUATION

Seeking a dissolution of a marriage is never an easy undertaking. If there is a business involved in the process of seeking a high asset divorce, then the matter may become even more complex. Kentucky residents can obtain the services of professionals who can ensure that the company is given an in-depth valuation.

There are several key points to keep in mind when a business will be a part of any divorce settlement. The first of which is to obtain an accurate valuation of the company. This is usually approached in three main ways: income, value of the company and market influences. It may be difficult for the spouse who is not actively involved in the running of the company to ascertain its true worth. An experienced professional could be consulted who could then review the books, conduct a thorough inspection and interview key personnel, which will help provide a clearer picture of the asset’s overall worth.

The second point to consider is ensuring that one does not attempt to seek double access to income streams. If one is offered a percentage of future profits from a business, then it may not be appropriate to seek additional financial support from a former spouse. Lastly, it may be beneficial to consider that a spouse may attempt to undervalue the company in an effort to obtain a more favorable settlement. Having an accurate accounting of the profits and liabilities may prevent such attempts to falsify the actual worth of the company.

There are measures one can take to ensure that a high asset divorce is as equitable as possible. Kentucky residents have access to financial experts who can assist them in discerning the true value of all assets that will be a part of the settlement agreement. In addition, the assistance and guidance that an experienced divorce attorney can provide may make all of the difference in establishing a sound financial foundation moving forward. 

Source: wealthmanagement.com, “Three Pressing Issues For Business Owners Going Through a Divorce“, Mark S. Gottlieb, Jan. 30, 2018

WHEN YOU CAN’T KEEP UP WITH YOUR SPOUSAL SUPPORT PAYMENTS

You did it. You went through the divorce process and are now working on moving forward in your life. As part of your divorce decree, you’ve been ordered to pay spousal support — also known as maintenance — to your ex. At first it was okay, but a change in circumstances has made it difficult to keep up with this obligation. What can you and other Kentucky residents in your situation do to turn things around?

When a divorce decree is finalized, you may not feel that you can change it down the line. It’s final, right? Not necessarily. While there are some things you may not be able to change, modifications to maintenance obligations are possible.

Modification

If you can no longer afford to keep paying your ex the amount ordered by the court, you may be able to successfully seek a modification to that order. There are two ways to do this: work out a new agreement with you ex or go to court. Some former spouses are willing to accept less either temporarily or permanently. If the two of you can negotiate new terms, you will still need to submit the changes to court for approval and an official order modification.

If you and your ex cannot see eye to eye on the situation, you may file a modification request in court. Along with it, you will want to send any supporting documentation that will help your cause — such as:

  • Bank statements
  • Proof of employment change
  • Proof of income reduction
  • Proof of financial hardship

Your ex may still try to fight your adjustment request, but a judge will get the final say in the matter.

Do it sooner rather than later

In Kentucky, a change of circumstances is usually enough for a judge to agree to a modification request. It is best to seek a maintenance change sooner rather than later, as missing support payments will not paint you in a good light and could cost you in the long run.

If you are struggling to meet your spousal support obligation, the sooner you take action the better off you will be. With a little legal assistance, you can either work with your ex to create a new plan that fits into your budget or you can go to court in order to seek an affordable payment schedule. Either way, if successful, it can significantly help you as you work to get your financial situation back in order.