Covington Divorce Attorneys
Navigating A Divorce? Our Covington Divorce Attorneys Can Help
According to a 2020 article in U.S. News and World Report, Kentucky is among the top five states with the highest divorce rate. The ten cities in Kentucky with the highest rate of divorce include: Lebanon, Hazard, Lawrenceburg, London, Middlesboro, Leitchfield, Bardstown, Somerset, Shively, and Paris. In Kentucky, as in most states, one spouse files for divorce. In most states—including Kentucky—no “grounds” for the divorce are necessary, other than citing irreconcilable differences. Unless the ex-spouse has an objection, the divorce process can begin, preferably with experienced Covington divorce attorneys involved.
Divorce can be a very painful process for many people—both emotionally and financially. Further, there is much more involved in divorce than signing papers. Your life is being separated from that of another person. You could be moving, changing jobs, helping your children cope, changing your financial status, and, essentially, starting over. The goal of most people going through a divorce is to make their new life work on an emotional, financial, and practical level. When one spouse wants the divorce, and the other does not, or serious disagreements about asset division or child custody, a divorce can be even more difficult.
At Adams Law, we fully understand the intricacies and emotions associated with divorce. It can be daunting and scary to face divorce on your own. We can offer you the reassurance you need—we will be there every step of the way to help you come up with the very best plan of action for your divorce. We can explain any difficult-to-understand legalities, file all the necessary paperwork in a timely fashion, conduct mediation and negotiations, and, if necessary, represent you in court.
We have been serving clients in Kentucky and Ohio for more than 125 years, continuing to stay fully up-to-date with the latest technology and tools necessary to fully serve our clients. When you choose Adams Law for your divorce, you will receive exemplary customer service, personalized attention, modern systems, and experienced Covington divorce attorneys
Residency Requirements for a Kentucky Divorce
While either spouse can file for divorce, there are certain requirements to be met, including the following:
- You have lived apart from your spouse for at least 60 days.
- One spouse must be a Kentucky resident, living in the state of Kentucky for at least 180 days.
- The divorce must be filed in your county of residence.
- The wife may not be pregnant at the time the divorce is filed; if the wife is pregnant, no divorce can be filed until the birth—even if the husband is not the biological father.
You may wonder how you can prove you are a resident of Kentucky. If you are registered to vote, have a Kentucky driver’s license, pay taxes in the state of Kentucky, or have been stationed on a military base for at least six months, you can easily prove Kentucky residency. It is important to note that even if you are a Kentucky resident, but your spouse has never lived in the state, property and child support orders cannot be made unless your spouse files papers or goes to court.
If you move out of state during the divorce, you can finish it in Kentucky so long as the residency requirements were properly met when you filed. If one spouse is in the military, be aware that the military spouse is legally allowed to ask the court to postpone the court hearings if he or she is on active duty and cannot go to court. Divorce attorneys are particularly helpful to ensure all residency requirements are met so there are no roadblocks to your divorce.
Grounds for Divorce in Kentucky
Across the United States, most states are now no-fault (meaning you only have to state your marriage is irretrievably broken), some states remain “fault” states, and others have a combination of the two. In Kentucky, the only “grounds” for divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means there is no reasonable scenario in which the two of you would reconcile.
Either both spouses must state the marriage is irretrievably broken, or one spouse must state the marriage is irretrievably broken, and the other does not deny it. If one spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the judge will consider the chances of the couple reconciling, the circumstances under which the divorce petition was filed, and any other relevant factors. Based on his or her findings, the judge could continue the hearing for 30-60 days, requesting that you and your spouse seek counseling, then could reassess at the end of that time period.
The Difference Between a Contested Divorce and an Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree not only about the divorce itself but also about asset division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If there is disagreement about one or more of those things, the divorce will be considered contested. In reality, many divorces begin as uncontested, only to evolve into a contested divorce or even a hotly contested divorce.
There is no doubt about it—a contested divorce is frustrating at best, meaning you need someone on your side that can answer your questions, cares about your best interests, and has the experience to effectively back you up, in or out of court. Experienced Covington divorce attorneys in the state of Kentucky can handle either a contested or an uncontested divorce, although having an attorney is even more important in a contested divorce.
The Process of Filing for Divorce and How Kentucky Divorce Attorneys Can Help
Assuming you meet the criteria listed above as far as residency requirements and living apart for sixty days, one spouse will file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Circuit Court of the county where at least one spouse resides. If your divorce is uncontested, you will file the Petition with supporting documentation, including a Marital Settlement Agreement that outlines the division of assets and child custody agreement.
A court hearing will be held where the judge may or may not ask you a few questions, then will enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. Simple enough, unless your divorce is contested. If your divorce is contested, you and your spouse’s divorce attorneys will spend time negotiating such things as asset division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If these issues simply cannot be negotiated, you may end up in court, where a judge will make those decisions for you.
Dividing Assets in a Kentucky Divorce
The first step in dividing assets in a Kentucky divorce will be determining which assets are marital assets and non-marital assets. In general, the following assets are considered non-marital:
- Property you acquired prior to your marriage;
- Any property specifically excluded by a valid pre or post-nuptial agreement;
- Any property acquired in exchange for non-marital property;
- Property acquired through a gift or inheritance during the marriage;
- Any income from property acquired through a gift or inheritance acquired during the marriage;
- Property acquired by one spouse following a decree of legal separation, or
- Unless due to both spouse’s contributions, any increase in the value of property acquired prior to the marriage.
Non-marital property can quickly become marital property when co-mingled with marital property. As an example, if your uncle leaves you $50,000 prior to your marriage, then you put that money in a joint account with your spouse, you have effectively turned it into marital property. If you were left a beach house and used marital funds to renovate the house, then at least a portion of that house will be marital property. As you can imagine, it can sometimes be difficult to separate marital and non-marital assets.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on the division of marital assets, the judge, without regard to marital misconduct, will consider the following:
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property (including homemaker contributions);
- The value of non-marital property for each spouse;
- The specific economic circumstances of each spouse, including whether the spouse with primary custody of the children should be awarded the family home.
Since Kentucky is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state, the asset division only has to be fair rather than split 50/50. Often, asset division is a contentious area of divorce, like child custody, requiring the service of experienced Covington divorce attorneys.
Will You Qualify for Spousal Support?
Sometimes known as alimony or spousal support in other states, Kentucky calls it “maintenance.” Maintenance is applicable when one spouse lacks sufficient property (after considering the division of assets), to provide for his or her reasonable needs, is the custodian of a child whose circumstances render it unreasonable to be required to get a job, or who is unable to become self-supporting through employment. For example, a spouse who gave up his or her own education or career opportunities to become a homemaker and is divorcing later in life might not reasonably be expected to obtain the necessary education or skills for a self-supporting job. A judge may order maintenance based on the following factors:
- The length of the marriage;
- The age of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- How much time it would take for the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire training or education that would translate into appropriate employment;
- The division of marital assets;
- Whether the spouse seeking maintenance has non-marital assets;
- The physical and emotional condition of the party seeking maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to independently meet his or her needs;
- Whether the spouse seeking maintenance is the primary custodian of the children, particularly young children or children with special needs;
- Whether the paying spouse can provide maintenance.
There are three types of maintenance awarded in the state of Kentucky:
- Temporary maintenance (pendente lite),
- Short-term maintenance, or
- Permanent maintenance
Temporary maintenance is awarded during the divorce process, ending when the divorce is finalized. Short-term is the most common type of Kentucky maintenance, often referred to as “rehabilitative” maintenance. Short-term maintenance aims to allow the supported spouse to obtain specialized job training or an educational degree. Judges generally require the supported spouse to create a plan that explains the length of time it will take them to become financially independent. Permanent maintenance is less common, usually available only in long-term marriages where the spouse was a full-time homemaker and now requires support due to age or a disability. Maintenance usually ends when either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
Child Custody and Child Support in Kentucky
Child custody is typically another contentious area of divorce. The goal is to determine how the minor children’s time will be divided between the parents. As with asset division, if the spouses are unable to come to an agreement regarding child custody, the judge will make that decision based on the best interests of the child or children. The judge will consider the following when determining child custody:
- The wishes of the parents, and, in some instances, the wishes of the child;
- Any domestic violence affecting the child;
- The relationship between the child and his or her parents, siblings, and any other significant relationships;
- The mental and physical health of all those involved;
- The child’s current adjustment to home and school, and
- Whether the child has been placed with a de facto custodian and the circumstances of that placement.
The judge will also determine how the children will be financially supported, usually with one parent paying money to the other. The needs of the child and each parent’s ability to meet those needs and how custody is divided will help the judge determine the amount of child support one parent will pay to the other.
How Long Will Your Divorce Case Last, and How Much Will It Cost?
An uncontested divorce in the state of Kentucky could conceivably be finalized within 60-90 days, although this will vary depending on the court’s caseload. If your divorce is contested, then it could take months, even years, depending on the disagreements that must be settled. As for cost, that too will depend on whether your divorce is relatively simple and uncontested or is contested and drags on for an extended period of time.
How the Covington Divorce Attorneys at Adams Law Can Help
The experienced, compassionate Covington divorce attorneys at Adams Law have helped many Northern Kentucky and Ohio residents through their divorce. We understand the emotions and the financial uncertainty associated with divorce, and we will ensure your rights are fully protected throughout the process. Contact Adams Law today at our Covington office to discuss your divorce, ask any questions you may have, and determine the best way forward.