Dividing marital property can be one of the messiest aspects of a Kentucky divorce, and anticipation of going through such a process can be a great source of pre-divorce anxiety. Knowing about how Kentucky law provides for the division of marital assets can, however, alleviate much of the anticipated stress.
Basics of property division laws in Kentucky
Kentucky is not a “community property” state, that is, a state where all marital property is divided 50/50. Instead, Kentucky is what is known as an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to marital property. The judge or referee who is presiding over the divorce has great latitude in deciding how marital assets should be divided. This rule does not mean that the property must be split into two equal shares; instead, after the court finishes its task, the division of property between the two spouses must be fair and equitable.
The factors that the court must consider in reaching this goal include the following:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including the contribution of the “stay-at-home” spouse;
- The circumstances of each spouse after the divorce, such as having the custodial spouse stay in the family homestead
- The length of the marriage
- The value of property awarded to each spouse.
Many other factors can influence the court. For example, if one spouse entered the marriage with a significantly greater amount of assets, the court may allow the other spouse to acquire a share of marital assets that is far greater than 50%, especially if minor children are involved.
Advice from an experienced divorce attorney might be helpful, especially if one or both spouses own significant assets. A knowledgeable lawyer can review the parties’ assets and provide a helpful estimate of how the court might divide the property. A capable attorney can be especially helpful if legal methods for protecting assets from division may be available.