On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in divorce on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
You’ve worked hard for most of your life to get where you are, and you and your family have been enjoying the fruits of your labors. But what happens to all you’ve accumulated when your marriage suddenly comes to an end?
Many hard working, high-earning Kentucky residents are rightfully concerned about what happens to their property during a divorce, and what they stand to lose. This article seeks to answer some questions about this often touchy and very important subject.
What is mine and what is ours?
The state of Kentucky recognizes two types of property as they pertain to a marriage: marital and non-marital. Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage through purchase, gift or inheritance, even if the title has only one name. Property may include land and buildings, cars, home furnishings, jewelry, and more.
Non-marital property includes anything you owned prior to getting married, or an item which was gifted or bequeathed to you specifically. You may need to provide proof if your spouse challenges your claim to sole ownership of an asset.
Dividing the assets
Perhaps the best way of ensuring you keep the things you hold most dear in a divorce is to attempt to come to an agreement outside of court. While this agreement may or may not have to be presented to the court for approval, it will be legally binding regardless. A non-litigated division of property will often produce the most satisfactory results.
If you are unable to reach an amicable agreement regarding the division of marital assets, the court will make the final decision on who gets what. In Kentucky, a judge will generally start by dividing the value of the marital property evenly; however, there are often circumstances which prompt an uneven split, if it is deemed more equitable. This decision will be based in part on:
The individual financial situations, including non-marital property and income
The individual contributions to the marital property
Who will stay in the home, if anyone
Where the children (if any) will live
If any marital property was destroyed inappropriately by either spouse after the established date of separation
It is worth remembering that debts are also considered marital property and should be taken into consideration. Debts (and assets) acquired after the date of separation, however, are non-marital property. For that reason, receipts and bills from around that time could prove crucial to one’s case.
Entering proceedings prepared
No one wants to see his or her hard-earned assets lost needlessly, and that doesn’t have to happen. By being properly prepared with all the relevant documents and evidence, it may be possible to avoid unpleasant surprises during a divorce.
One of the best ways to prepare for a divorce is to work side by side with a successful attorney. A skilled lawyer with the tenacity and knowledge to see your case through may be exactly what is needed to ensure a fair and agreeable settlement in the end.