WHAT TO DO AND NOT DO RE CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION IN KENTUCKY

If you recently navigated the Kentucky divorce process, you can give yourself a pat on the back, as you likely faced and overcame several challenges along the way, especially if you have children. You hopefully had a strong support network in place to help you protect your parental rights and achieve a co-parenting agreement that keeps your kids’ best interests in mind. If you pay child support, you’ll want to make sure you clearly understand what the court does and does not allow regarding the process.  

There may come a time when something changes with your finances, making your current payment agreement no longer feasible. It’s not uncommon as most people’s lives include financial ups and downs; the problem is that you must adhere to a court order, even if you are currently in a downward slope of your financial status. If a problem arises, you can seek immediate support so you don’t wind up in serious legal trouble.  

Keep these things in mind concerning child support    

There’s no shame in seeking modification of your child support order if something happens that makes it impossible for you to meet payments as they stand. The following list includes actions you want to avoid as well as other steps you definitely want to take if you run into payment problems: 

  • The very worst thing you can do if you are facing financial problems as a payor of child support is to stop making payments. The court can hold you in contempt if you do this.
  • It’s also not acceptable to create and implement a new plan, even if your former spouse agrees to it, without seeking the court’s approval. 
  • In short, once the court issues a child support order, it stands, unless and until the court grants permission for a change. Otherwise, both parents are obligated to adhere to the existing order. 
  • You do want to bring your financial matter to the court’s immediate attention to avoid problems. 
  • You do want to show proof of need, meaning evidence of a legitimate reason for requesting modification. 
  • You also want to make sure ahead of time that your reason is valid. Losing your job, incurring income reduction or expanding your family size through step-children in a new marriage are potentially valid reasons for requesting child support modification.  

Spending monies due for child support on a beach vacation or buying a new car may not sit well with a judge.  Also, disputes between you and your ex are not resolvable through child support retaliation.

Go through the proper channels        

If you have a medical emergency or some other dire need that has caused undue financial strain, it is perfectly acceptable to file a petition requesting modification of your child support order. As with most divorce-related issues, there is a specific process to follow. You can request a temporary or permanent adjustment of your payment amount. If you’re unsure about a particular legal issue, it’s always best to seek support rather than try to go it alone.

SOME STATES STILL DO NOT PROVIDE FATHERS EQUAL CHILD CUSTODY TIME

After a divorce, many parents struggle to work out an acceptable parenting plan that can best meet the needs of their children. Many states, including Kentucky, have revised child custody laws in order to ensure that fathers are able to spend more time with their children. However, there are still many states that are failing to provide them with comparable parenting time.

Recently, a software company that helps parents draft parenting plans conducted a review of the states to determine which are most likely to provide fathers with equal parenting time. It gathered information from family law professionals and researched court orders in an effort to assemble a detailed comparison. Only data that applied to the majority of parents was included, and situations where complications such as long distances applied were excluded in the report. 

Once the company correlated all of its data, it was able to determine which states were failing to ensure that fathers were granted greater custody time. While there have been several states that have made revisions in their approach to determining custody, there are several states where fathers are only averaging around one-fifth of the time with their children compared to mothers. The company discovered that there are 20 states that grant parents shared custody in those cases where such a ruling was suitable.

Approximately 40 percent of all states have made changes that provide both parents more equal parenting time with their children. It is hoped that the state-by-state comparison will spur the remaining states to update their custody laws. Kentucky was the first state that recently made shared child custody the default in those cases where doing so will not be detrimental to children. Residents who are seeking a parenting plan that will best suit their unique needs may consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can help arrange the plan that will allow one’s children to thrive.

AVOID THE COMMON PITFALLS THAT MANY MAKE IN DIVORCE SETTLEMENTS

The end of a marriage requires that many decisions be made concerning the division of marital assets. Though the process may feel overwhelming at times, choosing to take a big picture view may make it easier to achieve a binding and fair settlement agreement. Kentucky residents who are beginning divorce negotiations may benefit from these tips to avoid some of the more common errors.

One of the more frequent errors that people tend to make is focusing more on an equitable division of assets rather than looking at the big picture and possible future complications. Those who focus on preserving their current lifestyle may be at risk if there were a sudden change in circumstances that could leave one vulnerable in the event there is a catastrophic financial crisis. Having a settlement agreement that takes possible problems into account may allow one to overcome these events without suffering a significant setback.

Along with failure to consider future financial problems, parents who are unable to re-evaluate certain expectations may fall into a trap of guilt spending. Though children may still desire vacations or other luxuries, these desires may be unrealistic after a divorce. Scaling back on some expectations may enable one to realize financial goals in the future. Likewise, when negotiating child support and related expenses, parents who maintain detailed records may have greater success in seeking reimbursement for agreed upon costs.

Individuals who have assembled a detailed overview of their financial status may be in the best position to help negotiate a settlement agreement that will best fit their circumstances. For those who are contemplating a remarriage in the future, then a prenuptial agreement may preserve one’s financial well-being should the remarriage result in a divorce. Kentucky residents who are in the beginning stages of settling a divorce may be best served by seeking the input of an experienced attorney who can guide them through the process.

THE DIVORCE PROCESS MAY BE LESS STRESSFUL WITH DIFFERENT FOCUS

The end of a marriage can be emotionally, mentally and financially taxing. Though the divorce process can seem unending, there are some steps that may help make the process more manageable. Kentucky residents who are contemplating all of the aspects of their impending dissolution may benefit from keeping several key points in mind.

The first point to consider is that a divorce is simply a legal process. Though there are bound to be many conflicting emotions to endure, if one is able to approach a divorce as a step in ending a legal agreement, then it may help one keep things in perspective. It is suggested that in order to arrive at the best negotiating position one should determine ahead of time the things that one truly wishes to gain from a settlement. A list of goals may help form a concrete picture from which a spouse can work while attempting to understand what the former spouse may also be working to achieve.

One of the most important tasks to complete early in the process is to gather and assemble a complete financial assessment statement. This may include a credit report and a listing of all assets and liabilities. It is advised that each party open his or her own bank and credit accounts to establish independent credit. Along with the support offered by friends or family, a professional support system can prove to be invaluable.

Lastly, keeping the big picture of a life after divorce can provide a goal when one is reaching a settlement agreement. Once this document has been prepared, a thorough review can help ensure that it meets one’s needs in the best manner possible. A divorce is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new start in life. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance throughout the process for those Kentucky residents who have decided that a divorce is the best option for them.

 

PSYCHOTHERAPIST URGES COURTS TO CONSIDER INFANTS IN CHILD CUSTODY

There has been a concerted effort over the past several years for states to modify their laws in the matter of custody agreements. In fact, Kentucky recently passed a bill that requires judges to consider shared child custody as the default decision unless doing so would be detrimental to a child. However, one child care professional has urged family courts to carefully weigh the matter when it comes to children under the age of two.

According to this woman’s professional experience and approximately 50 years of research, children under the age of two or three do not do well under parenting schedules that allow for overnight visitation. It is this woman’s professional opinion that infants and toddlers benefit most from consistent care provided by their primary caregiver with limited time away. Children who are non-verbal and lack cognitive skills appear to suffer the long-term effects from separation anxiety until they are old enough to understand the process.

The woman used the illustration of a mother leaving a toddler’s room to demonstration the anxiety that youngsters experience when their primary caregiver is out of sight. Studies purportedly show that children who are forced to endure long separation periods experience residue feelings of anxiety that may impact them for the rest of their lives. It was noted, however, that the primary caregiver could be the father or other relative.

Once a child is capable of comprehending the purpose and duration of overnight visits with a non-custodial parent, the psychotherapist suggested that the issue of child custody be revisited. In the majority of the cases, family courts work diligently to ensure that the best interests of the children involved are protected when it comes to approving parenting plans. Kentucky parents who are concerned that their children may not thrive under certain custody arrangements are entitled to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can ensure that their children’s needs are the priority.

Source: attachmentparenting.org, “A Letter to the Court “Overnights and other custody/visitation arrangments with divorced or separated parents of infants and toddlers”“, Isabelle Fox, Accessed on May 31, 2018