Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?

Kentucky law allows for an award of Maintenance in a divorce when the spouse seeking maintenance can show that they 1) lack sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs and 2) is unable to support themselves appropriate employment or circumstances make it inappropriate for the caregiver to seek employment.  If the Court finds those two things exist it uses several factors to determine the amount of maintenance to be paid and the length of time it is to be paid.

Are there any legal requirements for filing for a divorce?

Yes. One person must have resided in this State for 180 days prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage,  and the marriage must be irretrievably broken.

What happens if partway through the process we decide we want to halt the divorce?

The process can be paused by simply not litigating the divorce any further.  You may also file an Agreed Order to hold the case for a period of time to let the judge (and other attorneys) know you are trying to reconcile. If the case is inactive for a period of time though, the Court may dismiss the action. 

Who gets custody of the children?

Custody has a different legal meaning than the way most people use in everyday language.  In Kentucky there are three components to child related issues.  Legal custody, the parenting plan, and child support.  There is now a legal presumption that joint custody and an equal parenting schedule are in the child/children’s best interest.  This is a presumption and can be overcome.  Child related issues are very fact driven.

Will I have to go in front of a judge?

Most cases go to mediation prior to being scheduled for a hearing.  If your matter is resolved at mediation then you likely will not have to go before a judge. 

How do they determine how much I will have to play in child support?

Child support is calculated in Kentucky pursuant to the statutory guidelines.  The guidelines take into consideration the parties’ gross income, any work related childcare cost and any health insurance premiums paid on behalf of the child/children.  Deviations are available in some cases.

How long will the entire process take?

The short answer – it depends.  Each case is different.  In Kentucky there is a sixty day separation requirement before a divorce can be finalized. 

What is a no-fault divorce?

Kentucky is a no-fault state which means fault is not required to obtain a divorce nor is it typically relevant in the proceedings.  Fault can be a factor when addressing how much maintenance should be paid.

What if my partner/spouse doesn’t want a divorce but I do?

In Kentucky either party may get a divorce.  One party cannot prevent the decree from being entered; they can however make it more difficult and length the process.

Do I have to be legally separated first?

Legal separation has a very specific meaning in Kentucky.  In general, it requires the same process as divorce. You can file for divorce the moment you separate.  Separation is defined as “sexual cohabitation.”  You do have to be separated for a period of sixty days before the divorce can be finalized, but not before you file the Petition for Dissolution (divorce).

What if I don’t know how to contact my partner/spouse?

A divorce is a legal proceeding which means they have to be properly “served.”  The Court can appoint a warning attorney whose sole responsibility is to get them served.  There has to be proper service to finalize property issues in a divorce.

Is adoption difficult?
There are different kinds of adoptions and some are easy and some are not. Uncontested step-parent adoptions are fairly easy. Contested adoptions are not necessarily "easy". All are paper and time intensive. The more contested, the more time and money it takes.