Dissolution of Marriage
In the no-fault divorce environment, dissolutions of marriages are now treated like dissolutions of businesses. What property was acquired prior to the marriage partnership? What property was acquired during the marriage partnership? What property was inherited? What tax consequences are involved in the dissolution? Will there be capital gains liabilities if the marital residence is sold?
These issues must be addressed in the division of property and the allocation of non-marital property in a divorce. Goldberg Simpson is versed in these issues and experienced in helping clients through the stresses and strains of complex divorce litigation.
Divorce in Kentucky
Ending a marriage can take a toll emotionally and financially. Having competent, experienced presentation in a divorce will minimize the impact of such a complete change to you and your family. Moreover, creating a detailed and documented agreement now may well mitigate issues that come about in the future — issues ranging from relocation or child care to a change in income, custody, or visitation.
Obtaining a divorce means identifying, examining, and resolving a host of issues, including:
Division of marital property
The divorcing parties (or the Court) must identify non-marital property (that is, acquired prior to the marriage) so it can be restored to the party who brought it into the marriage. It may be necessary to calculate how non-marital property has changed during the time of the marriage. The Court will also, per Kentucky state law, divide all marital property including personal property (vehicles, homes, furniture, personal items, household goods, etc.), bank accounts, retirement and pension accounts, business interests, and stock portfolios. Finally the parties or the court will determine which party will pay debts incurred during the marriage and any necessary tax payments to be made.
Determining the amount of alimony one spouse pays another, and for how long – even determining if spousal support will be part of a divorce agreement – is another issue that will be addressed during the divorce process.
The list of issues to be addressed and resolved if there are children is a long one. The parties or the Court must determine:
- Visitation schedule delineating when children will be with each parent, including holidays and extended vacation time outside of school.
- Custody, both legal and physical, and whether one party will be entitled to sole custody.
- Whether child support will be paid, how much, and what it will include (school tuition, health and dental insurance, extra-curricular activities, work-related child care).
- A trial will be scheduled only if the parties cannot agree on all the issues on their own or through mediation. If the Court finds the terms of the agreement to be conscionable, a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage will be completed.
Violence And Abuse
Stakes are high in cases of child abuse or neglect and cases move quickly. To ensure parental rights can be protected, and children can be maintained in a safe home, it is important to have experienced and dedicated counsel from Goldberg Simpson involved at the earliest possible moment. This is true whether you are a parent seeking to protect your child or acing wrongful or malicious/ false allegations of abuse.
There is a specific process for investigating and understanding cases of child abuse. When charges are made to the Child Abuse Hotline, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is statutorily obligated to conduct a timely investigation. The Cabinet must investigate some charges within forty eight hours, while in other cases; the Cabinet has up to thirty days in order to complete its investigation. The investigative social worker has the right to interview all relevant parties. This includes the ability to interview a child without a parent’s consent. In the event that the investigative worker is seeking to interrogate a suspected wrongdoer, it is essential to have counsel present when the initial investigation of abuse and/or neglect is undertaken.
In the event that the Cabinet files a petition, the initial court date is scheduled for a temporary removal hearing. At the temporary removal hearing, the Court decides whether to allow the child to remain with the parent, to place the child in the temporary custody of a friend or family member, or, in the most serious cases, to place the child in foster care.
A Family Court is obligated to conduct a bench trial to determine whether the allegations in the initial petition are true. Proper investigation and preparation are essential in order to make certain that the Trial is conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. If the Court finds that the allegations are true, the case is continued for a final hearing called a disposition. At that time, the Court may order the Parties to participate in rehabilitative services in order to maintain placement in the home or achieve reunification with the child.
Mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation. A voluntary process, mediation is also confidential and informal. A mediator is trained to keep communication lines open between parties when they cannot come to an agreement; he or she does not force either party to settle the dispute.
In certain counties, and particularly when custody and parenting disagreements have arisen, mediation is required before a divorce case is heard in court.
Because mediation keeps the two parties at the table, most cases settle prior to a trial. Judges find value in a divorcing couple compromising and agreeing on issues with which they themselves are intimately familiar. Courts have also found that settlements reached through mediation last longer before a review by the courts is necessary