Divorce & Dissolution

Overview of Family Law, Dissolution and Collaborative Divorce

Divorce and Dissolution in Kentucky are the same thing. Traditionally, and still the law in Ohio, dissolution is when the parties agree on all terms in a separation of the marriage. Divorce is reserved for when the judge has to make decisions, whether regarding custody, support, or division of assets and debts.

Under Kentucky law all cases are filed as dissolution and there can be contested or uncontested dissolutions. A contested dissolution can involve one or many different issues. While the primary issues are seemingly simple, the actual cases can be quite complex.

Spousal Support. There are 2 kinds of support, child and spousal. Spousal support has many components, but generally depends significantly on the earning ability of the parties and the length of marriage. Other factors also contribute to the calculation to figure out both the amount and duration of any spousal support award.

Child Support. Child support is statutory but can vary depending on the custodial arrangement. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide support for their minor children. Child support terminates when a child turns 18 and graduates from high school, but does not extend beyond 19 unless the child is disabled.

Custody. While there is a presumption of joint legal custody, there are many cases where one party is unable to make competent decisions for the children. Additionally, if there is domestic violence or the parties are unable to communicate, decision making may be left to only one party.

Parenting time. Again, Kentucky provides a presumption of equal parenting time, however the court can determine that such a division is either impossible or not in the best interest of the children. Moreover, even in an equal parenting situation, there are many different schedules which allow for a 50/50 split of the children.

Division of Assets. In short, the court tries to equally divide the marital assets, those acquired during the marriage which do not qualify as non-marital.

Non-Marital Assets. Generally those acquired prior to marriage or received as gifts or inheritance. In rare circumstances, parties may also claim non-marital if there is a significant period of separation or if there are other claims.

Valuation of Assets. While the assets are to be divided, it is often difficult to accurately value assets. For example, bank accounts, brokerage accounts and retirement are relatively simple while real estate and vehicles are a bit more complex. Assets such as closely held businesses are much more complicated and often require an expert to provide valuation.

Division of Debts. Debts are to be equitably divided. this is generally an equal division, but can be offset by an unequal division of assets or assigned to a party that is more capable of paying those debts. Also, specific debts such as student loans may be assigned to the party that benefited from the loan.