Marital property is property acquired during the marriage, other than by gift or inheritance to a specific party. Property acquired by either party before the marriage is deemed to be nonmarital property and is not subject to division by the court. However, some exceptions may apply, in instances where nonmarital property is combined with marital property and its source cannot be determined.
Because Kentucky is a no-fault state, it is not necessary to prove fault on the part of either party in order to obtain a divorce. However, the marriage must be shown to be “irretrievably broken” even if only one party believes that to be true.
This also means that the marital property is divided between the parties without regard to fault. Therefore, even though a party may be “at fault,” he or she will not be penalized through the division of property.
Marital property is usually divided equally. However, that is not true in every case. Kentucky law requires the court to take into consideration, among other things, the contribution by each party to the acquisition of property, as well as the financial circumstances of both parties at the time of divorce. The contribution of stay-at-home mothers and homemakers is commonly considered equal to that of a working spouse.
In situations where one party is unable to meet his or her reasonable needs through appropriate employment, maintenance may be awarded to that party. This issue is often a source of potential litigation in divorces, where both the amount and duration may be in dispute.
Child support is often the source of significant litigation between couples. In Kentucky, it is based on the gross incomes of the parties, and is determined by the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. At certain income levels, above those set out in the guidelines, the amount of child support is subject to determination by the court, with limits. If a party is voluntarily unemployed, the court may impute income to that party. Also, time-sharing arrangements may affect the amount of child support.
In Kentucky, financial support for a child continues until that child’s 18th birthday or graduation from high school, whichever is later. In divorces involving a disabled child, support may be ordered beyond the child’s emancipation.
In Kentucky, the “best interest of the child” standard is used to determine custody. Joint custody is usually awarded unless the fitness of either parent is called into question. Joint custody means that the parties share the decision-making regarding the child, and that each has an obligation to consult with the other regarding major issues such as education, healthcare or religion.
In a sole custody arrangement, which is unusual, one parent is chosen as the single decision-maker regarding the upbringing of the child. Due to the exclusion of one parent in a sole custody arrangement, it is seldom granted.
The Court now presumes equal timesharing is in a child’s best interest, however, that presumption may be rebutted. The courts encourage parents to communicate and decide the best time-sharing arrangements for their child. Usually, the court will approve any time-sharing arrangement to which the parties agree.
If a couple has minor children, it takes at least 60 days after (1) service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on the party who did not file the divorce action, or (2) after he or she enters an appearance in the court case, for the divorce to become final and a Decree of Dissolution entered.
A couple having no minor children may be divorced 60 days from the date of “separation,” even if they continue to live together, so long as there is no sexual cohabitation during that 60-day period.
These, as well as any other questions you may have, can be discussed at length with Mr. Zeroogian at your initial consultation.
Still have questions? Please contact us anytime! We look forward to hearing from you.