Family and domestic issues can sometimes be the toughest to navigate, and unfortunately, custody issues and divorce remain a part of the legal landscape. Our family law attorneys can help you work through these delicate matters. We commit to doing the best that we can for you and your family.
There are a variety of marriage problems that our lawyers can help you with:
Prenuptial, or antenuptial, agreements are contractual documents agreed upon and executed prior to marriage. They govern the disposition of personal, real, and other property should the marriage be dissolved or should one of the parties die. Most often prenups are used in those cases in which one or both parties have considerable assets or business interests that they wish to protect.
The process for a Kentucky legal separation is very similar to a full, or absolute, divorce. It can be beneficial court action if both parties do not wish to immediately proceed to a divorce, but they do want to enter a separation agreement into the court record to allow for division of assets and debts and to arrange child custody matters. This separation agreement can then later be referenced in the divorce action.
However, a legal separation is not required to proceed with a divorce action, although the parties must be separated for a period of time before a divorce can be filed or finalized.
Divorce and Dissolution
Divorce proceedings can range in complexity, but regardless of how simple the facts may be or how agreeable the parties might be, there is still complicated paperwork and pleadings that will need to be submitted to the court for consideration by the judge. In addition, different judges and circuit courts have different rules on the format and types of documentation that will need to be submitted. It’s for these reasons that it is often in your best interest to seek legal representation to assist you during a divorce proceeding.
Our attorneys can help walk you through the likely outcomes and necessary paperwork. In addition, they advocate for you every step of the way to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of by the other party.
When meeting with one of our lawyers, it is helpful to have the following information ready:
- Marriage information (e.g. date and place)
- Date of separation (Kentucky law requires parties to live separate and apart for no less than 60 days before a divorce decree can be issued)
- Date of birth, current address, and employment information for the other party (also other demographic information is required such as place of birth and number of times married)
- Assets, debts, and other property information (e.g. mortgage information, 401k and other investment information, etc.)
- Information relating to any child or children from the marriage
With this information in hand, one of our attorneys will discuss with you the next steps.
An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to as the disposition and division of the marital assets and debts. Although this tends to make the divorce process quicker, it rarely reduces any of the required documents that need to be submitted to the court.
A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot come to an agreement on their own as to what should happen with property or perhaps even custody of children. Normally, these disagreements can be resolved either through mediation with a third party or through a court hearing in which the court takes an active role in determining the division of property.
Whether as part of a divorce proceeding or for those situations in which the parties are not married, child custody cases are a common proceeding in which the court determines who should be the primary custodian of the child and when and how visitation or sharing of the child or children should take place.
In Kentucky, the only parties who are presumed to have custodial rights to a child are the natural, that is birth, parents. Cases in which the father is not known or the wrong father is on the birth certificate can be resolved with court ordered paternity tests.
Outside of the natural parents all other parties must petition the court in order to receive custodial rights to a child, or there otherwise must be a court action to determine temporary or permanent placement of a child with a non-custodial relative or other interested party. This type of action can sometimes be raised through Dependency, Abuse, and Neglect petitions that are filed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (i.e. Social Services).
Unless otherwise agreed upon, such as in a divorce proceeding, child support is normally requested through the local Child Support Enforcement Agency. This agency is responsible for the collection and payment of child support. Generally speaking, the County Attorney oversees the local agency and can help direct you on how you can contact them.
Adoptions are a special kind of child custody action in which one or both of the natural parents’ rights are terminated and transferred to another party. Some of the most common cases tend to involve the adoption of a child by the stepparent. At the end of an adoption case, the child or children adopted have for all legal purposes the same standing as a natural born child of the petitioners.
These matters have very specific statutory requirements that must be met in order to have a valid adoption, and therefore, it is highly recommended you speak with one of our family law attorneys to help you.