Our committed family law attorneys work closely with families and individuals to resolve a variety of issues such as divorce, annulment, maintenance, child support, child custody, and Department of Social Services. Our lawyers handle all family law issues with sensitivity, compassion, and urgency to help clients move forward.
FAMILY LAW CASES WE HANDLE
- Child Support
- Cabinet for Health and Family Services
- Divorce (uncontested and contested proceedings)
- Domestic Violence and Protective Orders
- Separation Agreements
- Time Sharing
STEP 1: CASE EVALUATION
During the initial consultation, you'll have the opportunity to sit down with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss the process, identify the issues, and decide on the right course of action. Family law cases are inherently emotional, we are ready to listen to your concerns and present solutions that fit your goals.
Step 2: NEGOTIATION VS. LITIGATION
There are two types of cases within the family law spectrum – Contested and Uncontested. In most cases, when the parties are actively working together to reach a resolution that is the best case scenario. In general, when family matters are uncontested, legal fees and the risk of unexpected outcomes are significantly reduced. There are several methods of informal resolutions without the costs of litigation such as mediation and informal settlement negotiations.
When the parties cannot work together and a mutual resolution is not possible, litigation is necessary. When our family law lawyers represent you in litigation, we aggressively represent your interests to the fullest extent allowable by law.
Step 3: RESOLUTION
Once an agreement has been reached or judgment has been entered, we will continue to work diligently making sure your rights are protected. Whether it is enforcing child support, modification of timesharing, or ensuring the property has been transferred, our legal team is here for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who has a duty to pay child support?
Both parents have a duty to support their children, regardless of marital status, but only non-custodial parents have to write a check (e.g., pay child support). The courts consider that the custodial parent's support is paid directly to the child. There are guidelines in Kentucky used to determine the amount of child support, but courts can go outside of these guidelines in certain situations.
Must I pay child support if my ex keeps my kids away from me?
A child support order is an order of the court. Not doing something the court tells you to do is a bad idea — so you have to pay child support even if your ex is keeping your kids from you. If you don't, you could be held in contempt or potentially face criminal charges for nonsupport.
How long do I have to pay child support/maintenance?
Support and maintenance orders are in effect generally until they are modified or revoked by an appropriate court. There are some circumstances where child support and maintenance automatically terminate (such as when a child becomes emancipated), but generally, they continue until modified by the court.
Can my ex move away with the kids?
The answer to this question depends heavily on whether or not you and your ex-spouse have joint custody of the children. If you do not have custody, generally your ex would just have to show that the move would be in the child's best interest. If you have joint custody, however, then you generally have more rights over what your ex-spouse may do in terms of moving with your children.
Am I responsible for my spouse's debt in a divorce?
Debts can either be personal (as in the responsibility of the spouse who incurred them) or marital (meaning that both spouses are responsible). In Kentucky, there is no presumption that debts are marital, and the spouse who wants to show that both spouses are responsible for the debt has to convince the court of that. Courts use a variety of factors in determining whether both spouses are responsible for a debt, including looking at who received the benefit from the debt that was incurred, the extent of each spouse's participation in incurring the debt, whether the debt was incurred to purchase marital property, and so on.
So if the debt in question was something that your spouse incurred well before you were married, then you likely will not be responsible for it.
Be aware, though, that even if a court says that a debt (for example, a credit card bill) is the responsibility of one spouse and not the other, that will not affect third-party creditors (such as the credit card company) if you were on the account as well. If you were the account holder or a co-signer, the credit card company can still come after you for the debt even though the court might say that the other spouse is responsible.
That doesn't mean that you are without recourse. You can basically request that the court order your spouse to repay you for anything that you had to pay.
If we divorce, do we split everything down the middle?
All that is required is an “equitable” division of marital property. Sometimes that may mean a 50-50 division, but not always. Courts will use a variety of different factors to look at what a “just” division is. These include but are not limited to economic need of the spouses, the contribution of the spouses in obtaining the property, how long the marriage lasted, etc. Division of property can be modified by agreement between the spouses, however, there are many different factors which go into property agreements which are unique to each relationship.
Do I need an attorney?
People can always represent themselves in court, and there are resources online and locally (such as the library at the Fayette County Courthouse) to help pro se (the legal term for people who represent themselves) litigants. However, an experienced attorney can help you both understand the process of divorce, marital separation, maintenance, and child support and ensure that your best interests are represented in court.
How do I get a divorce?
There are a few basic requirements for obtaining a divorce in Kentucky. You have to live apart for at least sixty days and file a petition for divorce. Also, the person who files for the divorce (called the petitioner) has to have resided in Kentucky for at least 180 days. This begins the divorce process in Kentucky
Can child support orders be modified?
Yes. Child support orders terminate automatically when the child turns 18 (provided that they have completed high school) or the child becomes emancipated. Otherwise, you will need to petition the appropriate court to modify, revoke, or commute the child support order depending on what the circumstances may be. For example, if you made a certain amount of money when the child support order was entered, but then lost your job, you are still liable for that amount of child support. You would have to petition the court to modify the order based on your change in circumstances.
How do I get custody of my children?
You will have to get approval from the appropriate court to do that — usually, the court that entered the custody order to begin with. Whether you can obtain custody depends on a variety of factors, though it is generally much easier to modify custody orders if at least two years have passed.
We offer personal and compassionate family law representation at all stages of your case. While we can be aggressive when necessary, we are always compassionate with our clients. If you or a loved one is dealing with a family law issue, call us at (859) 259-0727.