Asset division is an aspect of every divorce. Generally in a divorce, there are items which must be assigned to the respective owner and others that must be somehow divided because they are jointly owned by both parties.
The asset division issues in a divorce is a three-step process:
In Kentucky, it is presumed that all property acquired during the marriage is marital unless it falls within a few narrow statutory exceptions.
An attorney can assist in the asset division issues of the divorce and can ensure all non-marital property is retained and to obtain the best possible distribution of marital property.
The most contentious property-related issue in a divorce involves classifying certain property as marital or non-marital. The court must return each spouse's non-marital property at divorce, so a determination that certain property is non-marital guarantees the return to the owning spouse. However, often property takes a different form throughout the duration of a marriage. For example a spouse's inheritance or pre-marriage savings may be used to purchase or pay a down payment on a home. In that case, the property ownership must be traced so they could receive the car or that part of the home assets as his/ her non-marital property. Tracing is a fact process and will involve research into the parties' finances and supporting documentation.
The other hotly litigated property-related issue is the equitable division of marital property. In Kentucky, the court must divide marital property "in just proportions". It may consider "all relevant factors", but marital misconduct/adultery may not be considered. Kentucky decisions have routinely held that a property division "in just proportions" does not mean an equal, or 50-50 division. Because the division need not be equal, attorneys will argue for a division that is better for their client given "all relevant factors." The court is to consider, for example, the "[c]ontribution of each spouse to acquisition of the marital property," so an attorney may argue his or her client contributed more and is therefore entitled to more at divorce.
In addition to these issues, property division and settlement of the marital estate also involves the division of debts. Furthermore, there may be tax consequences to a particular property division arrangement. That is why it is important to discuss a proposal with a good attorney and/or experienced accountant.
Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is a money award provided by one spouse after their marriage terminates. The goal of maintenance is to ensure that each spouse does not have post-marital financial circumstances radically different than that of their former spouse. Sometimes this involves maintaining the standard of living established during the marriage. In other times, this may result in maintenance being awarded for so long a time as to allow the recipient to acquire the education or job skills to be self-supporting.
Maintenance may only be awarded if the party requesting it:
Maintenance is utilized to provide a former spouse with a standard of living close or equivalent to that experienced during the marriage or to afford the opportunity to "rehabilitate" himself or herself to become self-supporting. Temporary maintenance may be requested between the time the petition for dissolution or legal separation is filed and when the final decree terminating the marriage is entered. A "permanent" maintenance award can then begin when the final decree is entered.
Maintenance is often awarded in the following circumstances:
Occasionally, after the entry of a maintenance award, it becomes necessary to seek an increase or decrease in the award. Motions must also be filed with the court to either terminate the award entirely or seek its enforcement.
If you wish to talk with one of our attorneys call Sutton Law at 859-578-6600 or contact us online to discuss your legal matter and learn about your options.
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