There are few events more difficult in life than divorce, and it is important to understand the financial implications as well. While property division will depend on the state in which the couple resides, there are a few basic laws to be aware of before beginning such a proceeding in Kentucky.
Kentucky is a “no fault” state, meaning that no proof of wrongdoing is necessary to claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Either spouse must be a resident of Kentucky for at least six months before filing, and also a resident of the county in which they are filing for divorce. The couple must have separated for 60 days before the divorce is final.
Marital property laws in Kentucky
Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, meaning that property is divided fairly according to the judge’s decision, but not necessarily equally. Kentucky does have a Uniform Disposition Community Property Rights at Death Act (UDCPRDA), however. This means that if the couple resided in a community property state prior to moving to Kentucky, then those laws will apply.
Marital property is everything acquired during the marriage including debts and assets. Anything either spouse obtained before the marriage, such as gifts, an inheritance, property obtained after separation, or property excluded by a pre- or postnuptual agreement is separate property and cannot be divided.
Commingled property is separate property that becomes mixed into the marital property, for example when one spouse deposits funds into a separate account of the other spouse, or if both spouses pay the mortgage and expenses on a home owned by only one spouse.
Factors at play during property division
Factors the judge will take into account include:
- Length of the marriage
- Value of the property awarded to each spouse
- Non-monetary contributions to the marital property, such as the role of the homemaker or maintenance of the home by one spouse
- Who will have physical custody of the children, who is awarded the family home, and the economic condition of each spouse
Assessing property value
Once all assets and liabilities are evaluated, the court will determine a monetary value to the property. The couple can negotiate a separation agreement on their own, but this can be rejected if the judge determine that it is unconscionable, or grossly unfair. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, however, the court will step in to divide the property.
Once you have made this difficult decision, it is important to know the laws and also where to go to get informed counsel when you begin a divorce proceeding.