Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Family Law Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Helping Clients Navigate Challenging Times

Family law issues are varied and complex, and you need an experienced advocate in your corner. Whether you’re dealing with a simple uncontested divorce or are in an ongoing custody battle, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, can help you understand your options and formulate a legal strategy going forward.

What Are the Legal Grounds for Divorce in Kentucky?

Legal grounds for divorce vary by state. Kentucky is what is considered a no-fault divorce state, which means that you don’t need any specific reason, such as adultery or abuse, to be granted a divorce. Instead, you just need to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which just means that you don’t believe there is any reasonable possibility of you and your spouse reconciling.

As long as both parties state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or no party denies it, the judge will go ahead and grant the divorce. However, there are some circumstances where one party will state that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the other states it is not. In this situation, the judge must make the determination on whether to grant the divorce. In some cases, the judge may order marriage counseling to determine if there is any chance of reconciliation.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Child support in Kentucky is calculated using a formula that takes into consideration both parents’ gross incomes and how many children they are financially supporting. This is referred to as the income share model. Both parents’ incomes are added together to determine the family income. This is applied to a chart that shows how much it should cost to raise a child with that family income. Higher incomes assume higher child-related expenses. This number is then divided between the parents according to their percentage of the joint income. Here’s an example of how this works:

Parent A has a gross income of $40,000. Parent B has a gross income of $60,000. This is a combined income of $100,000. This corresponds to $1,008 for one child. Parent A would be responsible for 40% of this, which would be $403.20. Parent B is responsible for the remaining 60%, or $604.80. This means that Parent B will pay $201.60 to Parent A per month.

There can be situations that warrant a deviation from the basic child support calculation, so it’s important to discuss any of these that may apply with your attorney.

Will I Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance?

Kentucky law allows for temporary spousal maintenance or post-divorce maintenance in some situations. Temporary spousal maintenance happens while the divorce is still in process. This is designed to ensure that both parties’ financial statuses stay the same as they were during the marriage until the divorce can be settled. This can also help one party avoid financial struggle if there is a large income or earning potential disparity.

Post-divorce spousal maintenance is awarded as part of the final divorce settlement and is not related to or dependent on whether temporary spousal maintenance was ordered. How much spousal maintenance payments may be and how long they are ordered depends on the specific circumstances.

What Are the Property Division Guidelines?

Kentucky’s property division guidelines for divorce mandate that the marital property should be divided in “just proportions” and that “marital misconduct” is not considered. This means that one spouse cheating doesn’t impact how much the other one will get in the divorce settlement. It’s important to note that just proportions doesn’t necessarily refer to an exactly equal division. Instead, the courts look at many factors, most commonly:

  • How much each spouse contributed to the obtaining of the marital property
  •  How much property is set apart for either party
  •  How long the marriage lasted
  •  The projected financial situations of both parties after the divorce

Discussing your situation with a family law attorney can help you have a better understanding of how the property division guidelines in Kentucky may apply to your case so you can have a better idea of what to expect.

What Happens If We Don’t Agree?

The best-case scenario with divorce and family law issues is that the parties are able to agree on how they want the case handled. This is especially true when it comes to property division and child custody. Coming to a mutual agreement means that you retain more control over what happens to your property and in your family and can save you time and money because you don’t need to go through the full trial process. However, divorce often happens because the parties have difficulty communicating or have different values, so this isn’t always possible.

If both parties aren’t able to agree on the terms of the divorce or other family law matter, the case will go for a hearing before the judge. In some cases, the judge may order that the parties take part in mediation. If that’s unsuccessful, the case usually proceeds to trial, and the judge will end up making a final decision on any terms the parties couldn’t agree on.

Family law issues can be notoriously difficult to navigate and can leave you feeling emotionally drained. Having an attorney on your side can help you get through these issues more quickly and give you peace of mind that you have an experienced advocate fighting for your rights and interests. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce or need to know your options for a family law filing already in process, call the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, at 859-667-1204 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.