A major issue which arises in the dissolution of a longterm marriage is that of spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony or spousal support. Too many lawyers frequently present it to clients as an "it exists, live with it" proposition, and laymen understand it only as the nebulous concept of alimony. This conclusive and nonexplanatory concept is constantly reinforced in the opinions of both trial and appellate courts, and this misconception is compounded through the earnest efforts of legal scholars in creating largely incomprehensible articles on the topic.
In family law matters, as relationships collapse, this office all too frequently finds itself undoing damage done by litigants who inadvertently make bad decisions in how they communicate at each step of the process. These decisions tend to be born in a cauldron of vindictiveness, pride or stubbornness, and always lead to negative results. Under Kentucky law, it is very difficult to obtain a mulligan (or "redo", for all non-golfers), so it is very important to attempt good decisionmaking and effective communications from the start.
In the movies, the prevailing story arc bends toward successful resolution of conflict, usually between "diamonds in the rough". Epiphanies occur, differences get patched, circumstances are dealt with and everyone goes on to live in some configuration of happily ever after, full of love and mutual respect.
Divorce always raises issues of the treatment of taxes. In most cases, one spouse will have assumed the responsibility for preparation of household financial documents and continues on with the chore out of habit, but sadly, with the shattering of the trust that comes about from the end of a marriage there also comes a reluctance to cooperate.
When it comes to divorce, as in every business cycle, there are busy periods. In Louisville, it is no different.
A family law question which frequently arises in my office is whether someone can be ordered to pay the costs of private (usually religious) education as a portion of child support, and whether Kentucky will require someone to pay college expenses. My usual answer is simple - in the absence of a written agreement, on a general basis, payment for private education won't be required unless there are some special educational circumstances involving specific learning difficulties and a professional recommendation advocating attendance at a specific private school.
A divorce can be a traumatic, emotionally draining event. Rather than seeing it as a new beginning, some litigants abandon common sense and view the process as a vehicle with which to settle scores, make points, rehash old arguments and pick at wounds long thought healed. The results of this sort of "scorched earth" strategy are generally not as had been originally intended - children and extended families are alienated and the parties are in a considerably diminished financial condition, unable to move forward to the next stage in their lives in a hopeful fashion.
A divorce has a profound effect on a couple's estate plan in Kentucky law. While there is no legal effect up until the entry of a decree of dissolution, once that decree is entered, any disbursements or powers granted to the other party to the dissolution by will are treated as if that party died on the date of the decree.
In my divorce practice, I frequently see questions of taxation arise. All too often, one spouse will have been the long time preparer of household financial documents and expects to continue on with the chore out of habit, but with the shattering of the trust that comes about from the end of a marriage there also comes a reluctance to cooperate.
The Winter Holidays, while usually a time of great joy, can bring about major stress in a child custody case. Depending on the ages of the children involved, this can result in conflicts as to items as mundane as where the little ones wake up on Christmas morning to substantive issues of travel to far-flung ski or tropical destinations.