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

Divorce Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Devoted to Protecting Our Clients’ Interests in Divorce Settlements

The divorce rate in Kentucky has been trending downward over the last few decades, but divorce is still incredibly common. Among Americans aged 45 to 54, more than 40% have gone through at least one divorce. Every divorce is different, but it can help to understand how divorce filings work, what’s required, and what you can expect from the process so you can be better prepared.

When two people combine finances and lives, it can be challenging to untangle everything. Working with an experienced divorce attorney gives you an advantage by ensuring you’re aware of your rights and all of your options when it comes to negotiating divorce terms. The legal team at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, can assist with all matters related to divorce, from property division to child custody.

What Does Kentucky’s No-Fault Divorce Mean?

Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you don’t need to have any specific grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abuse. A divorce can be granted just because both parties are in agreement that the marriage relationship is irrevocably damaged and that there is no reasonable possibility of reconciliation.

Kentucky also doesn’t consider marital misconduct as an influencing factor in the divorce settlement as some other states do. For example, this means that you won’t be entitled to more than your “just proportion” if your spouse was unfaithful. “Just proportion” is the wording Kentucky uses, which means that the settlement should be equitable based on factors such as what part each spouse played in acquiring the marital property. Just proportion does not necessarily mean exactly equal, and it also doesn’t mean that if only one spouse was earning income that they are entitled to a larger share of the assets.

Do We Have to Be Living Separately to File for Divorce?

Kentucky law requires that married couples be living separate and apart for at least 60 days before a divorce can be granted. This is designed as a sort of cooling-off period to ensure that the parties have time to understand the full weight of their decision and ensure that they still want to move forward with the divorce.

Many couples choose to live in separate residences once they have made the decision to file for divorce, but this isn’t required to be considered as living separate and apart. In general, you can satisfy this requirement as long as you are not acting as a married couple or having marital relations. If you’re not sure if your situation qualifies as living separate and apart, an attorney can help you make that determination so you know when the waiting period begins.

What’s the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree that the marriage is broken and wish to divorce. In most cases, the judge will ask each party to verbally express this at the final divorce hearing before making the divorce final. However, an uncontested divorce can also be granted if one party declares that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the other makes no statement either way. Uncontested divorces are generally faster and easier to settle because both parties are invested in getting through the process as quickly as possible, and they may be more likely to compromise and agree on the terms instead of needing to have everything decided by the judge through a divorce trial.

A contested divorce happens when one party wants the divorce but the other wants to keep the marriage intact. In this case, the judge has the option to order the couple to complete marriage counseling to see if there is any hope of saving the marriage. However, if there is still disagreement over whether the marriage is irretrievably broken, the judge can make the final decision to grant the divorce. It’s common for these divorces to be more complicated because the spouse who doesn’t want the divorce may refuse to return paperwork or cooperate with deciding terms in an attempt to stall the divorce.

What Happens If There Was a Prenuptial Agreement in Place?

Prenuptial agreements used to be reserved for those who had great wealth to protect, such as celebrities or the very rich. But today, prenuptial agreements are used by people of all socioeconomic statuses and can be a valuable tool in ensuring both parties are provided for in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement outlines what property is marital property and what is separate property, how the marital property will be divided, and how other financial issues, such as spousal maintenance, are to be handled.

If a prenuptial agreement exists, either party can simply ask the judge to enforce the agreement as part of their divorce filing. As long as the agreement is legal and neither party is asking for it to be set aside, it’s likely that the judge will abide by the agreement. However, a prenuptial agreement cannot legally make any declarations about child custody, which means that those divorcing with children will still need to either agree on how custody will be split or go through a custody trial where the judge will make the determination.

Divorce can be a messy process, but our team is here to help you make sense of it. When you meet with one of our lawyers, we’ll go over your case to ensure you understand what you may be entitled to in the division of assets and what other factors may need to be settled, such as child custody or child support. Call the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, at 859-667-1204 to get started.