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Florence Divorce Law Blog

What happens when a divorce involves a retirement plan?

After spending years together, a Kentucky couple more than likely dreamed of what they would do during their retirement years. They may each have diligently contributed to their employers' 401Ks or pension plans in the hopes of making those dreams a reality someday. When it became clear that divorce was on the horizon, each of them may have begun to wonder what would happen to those plans.

The wealth accumulated in a retirement plan during the marriage is more than likely going to be subject to division during the divorce in the absence of a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. Of course, the parties could just agree to keep their own plans. However, the next question revolves around what happens if one spouse's plan has a significantly higher amount in it than the other.

Get your financial affairs in order prior to a Kentucky divorce

There is more to ending a marriage than simply physically and emotionally separating from a spouse. Kentucky couples more than likely have several financial endeavors together that make up the marital estate. Each party ought to consider getting their financial affairs in order prior to filing for divorce.

Documentation regarding assets and liabilities needs to be gathered as soon as possible. This could take some time, so starting early is a good idea. With this documentation, each party can start the process on equal footing. This is especially important if one party handled most of the financial duties during the marriage. The other party could end up at a disadvantage when it comes time to divide property.

What do I get to keep in my Kentucky divorce?

Divorce is a complex process, and it is normal to have concerns about what you will be able to keep after the process is complete. Property division is one of the most difficult and emotionally charged issues in a divorce, and it can be useful to better understand the Kentucky laws regarding marital and non-marital property.

The decisions that you make during a divorce will have a significant impact on your life for years, even decades, to come. Understanding your rights and knowing what to expect is a significant step toward a post-divorce future that provides you with both stability and security.

Overcoming the pain of divorce like Gwyneth Paltrow is possible

Even under the best of circumstances, overcoming the pain associated with ending a marriage can be a challenge, especially if children are involved. The bigger challenge for Kentucky couples, however, is moving past that pain to focus on what is truly important, which is working together as a team to make the transition of divorce as painless as possible for the children. According to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, that involves coming to some hard realizations even as the parties acknowledge their pain.

Paltrow was derided often in the media for calling her divorce a conscious uncoupling. Now, however, she says that people have begun to understand what it means and are attempting to do the same thing. For her, putting the children first meant reminding herself what she liked about her now former husband so that she could foster a friendship as a parent, not as a wife. Maintaining such a positive outlook may not be easy, but it could be worth it.

Can a courtroom battle be avoided in a high asset divorce?

Did you accumulate significant assets both before and during your marriage? Do you own a business? Are you now facing a high asset divorce? If so, you have a lot at stake in a Kentucky divorce. It may be in your best interests to try to avoid a courtroom battle.

You may believe that it would be easier just to give in and give your spouse whatever he or she has asked for just to make sure that the proceedings don't degrade into a contentious court battle. However, you may not need to go to those lengths in order to avoid having a judge make decisions on your behalf. You could retain control over the property division process and come to an agreement with which both of you are satisfied.

Getting retirement benefits in a military divorce could change

Being married to a member of the Armed Forces comes with numerous benefits. Depending on the length of service and marriage, those benefits become an important issue in a military divorce, whether here in Kentucky or elsewhere. A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could change the retirement benefits that many ex-spouses receive under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act.

Many former military members apply for and receive disability benefits. The amount depends on the percentage of disability assigned to the former service member. Under current law, if that percentage is under 50 percent, the amount of their military retirement benefits decreases in direct proportion to the amount of disability received. Disability benefits are not taxed, so many veterans choose these benefits in lieu of taxable retirement benefits.

What do a commanding officer and JAG do in a military divorce?

The simple answer is not much. A Kentucky service member's divorce and separation are considered private, civil matters. For this reason, a commanding officer and attorneys with the Judge Advocate General's office do not have much involvement, if any, in a military divorce. The main involvement the military has in a divorce surrounds benefits, pay and property.

Many Kentucky service members mistakenly believe that JAG can help with a divorce. A JAG attorney may provide some general advice, but nothing more. Service members are encouraged to obtain civilian counsel to represent them in family matters such as a divorce.

How can an attorney help save your business in a divorce?

You more than likely spent a great deal of time, money and effort growing your business into something you are proud of and is successful. Now that you face a divorce, you may be concerned that your soon-to-be former spouse may receive a portion of your business, which could potentially jeopardize the futures of you and your business. A Kentucky attorney can help you protect your interests when it comes to your business.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it could also take a village to protect your business interests. Your attorney may rely on forensic accountants, appraisers and other parties to gather the evidence to meet your needs. Your business has many moving parts, and the right individual should closely and carefully examine each one of those parts.

Establish paternity now to avoid problems in the future

Many Kentucky couples are in committed relationships, yet remain unmarried. These couples often have children, and may not realize that the state does not automatically assume that the mother's partner is the biological father of the child. Simply putting the father's name on the birth certificate is not enough to legally establish paternity.

This might not present a problem in the beginning, but any number of issues could arise that are affected by the biological father not being recognized legally. For instance, if the couple's relationship ends, issues surrounding custody, visitation and child support will undoubtedly arise. Without establishing paternity formally, the father has no legal rights or responsibilities when it comes to the child.

Stalling your divorce may backfire

As unpleasant as it may be to realize, when your spouse asked for a divorce, it was likely a decision that came from months, perhaps years of agonizing and soul searching. While the announcement may have taken you by surprise, your spouse was probably ready and determined to get through the divorce as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, you may feel you need more time to process the new situation, and while your spouse may want to hurry things along, you may not be ready to see it end. It may seem to you that the most logical course of action is to use whatever tactic you can to stall the divorce; however, this method may make your divorce even more painful.

Tasha Scott Schaffner, PLLC - Attorneys at law

505 Centre View Blvd.
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Phone: 859-491-1011
Fax: 859-491-1899
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