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Richmond Divorce and Family Law Blog

Ending a marriage due to a spouse’s addiction

Marriages break down for countless reasons, and many people have filed for divorce as a result of domestic violence, infidelity or growing apart from their spouse over the course of many years. In this post, we will examine the role that addiction can play in the breakdown of a marriage. There are many different habits that people may struggle with and these addictions can be absolutely detrimental to any relationship, whether they involve sex, drugs, gambling or other areas of concern.

If your spouse is addicted to alcohol or an unlawful substance, you may be struggling with numerous hardships. In addition to difficult behavior, their addiction may be especially harmful if you have kids who are exposed to their behavior and they may lead to financial problems as well. Or, if you are married to someone who has a sex addiction you may be very upset with their actions and no longer able to stay in the marriage. Gambling, overeating and even an addiction to working excessively can also be very harmful in any marriage.

How prevalent is divorce in the United States?

Marriages end for many reasons, and divorce has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion in recent years. Some people may not realize just how many married couples end their marriage, and this information can be beneficial for people who may feel like they are alone or facing challenges that many couples do not have to deal with. Moreover, those who are experiencing emotional issues related to their divorce may benefit from counseling and a thorough examination of the different legal options that are in front of them.

According to data that was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 827,000 divorces in the U.S. during 2016. It is important to keep in mind that this data on couples who decided to end their marriage was only collected from 44 states and the District of Columbia. Out of these states, the divorce rate in 2016 was 3.2 out of 1,000, while the marriage rate was more than twice that at 6.9 out of 1,000. Therefore, it is clear that many more people will file for divorce in the years to come.

How to expedite the divorce process in Kentucky

Many couples in Kentucky struggle with their marriages. Divorce rates were just one factor recently used in a study that determined the most stressed states in the country. Kentucky ranked fourth as most stressed. 

Couples will experience more stress if their divorce process goes on for months or even years. Sometimes, there is nothing to do about this. Contentious divorces are occasionally unavoidable, but a couple can take steps to try to speed up proceedings. 

Understand your rights on spending child support

At The Grinnell Firm, PSC, we know that there are many misconceptions that Kentucky residents hear after a child support order is made by the court. If you receive child support, your ex may have told you that you must give him or her receipts, or he or she may try to dictate how you spend the money. Family members and friends may inform you that you must report your spending to the court. Understandably, this information can give you a great deal of anxiety about how you spend child support.

Fortunately, as FindLaw explains, family court will not ask for receipts or proof of your child support spending. Your ex-spouse also may not tell you how to spend it or demand receipts. As you know, child support is for your children’s benefit, but you can use your discretion on how to spend the money. You may, for example, consider the following expenses necessary for your children’s well-being:

  • Food, clothing and necessities
  • School supplies, tuition, tutoring and extracurricular activities
  • Medication, doctor’s visits and medical insurance
  • Savings for emergencies or future college funds

Allowing both parents time for a summer vacation

The warmer temperatures that accompany spring often prompt parents in Richmond to start contemplating how they are going to best utilize the extra time they will have their children during summer breaks. People, in general, tend to enjoy a period of downtime (indeed, according to Travel Agent Central, 35 percent of Americans take a vacation in an area more than 50 miles away from their homes annually). Parents often utilize their children's summer break to take their vacations; divorced parents are no different. Yet fixed custody schedules can make planning a summer vacation difficult. 

The state's guidelines for managing custody during the holidays have been detailed in the past. Many also wonder if similar guidelines exist during summer break. The Kentucky Court of Justice has indeed set forth details for managing custody during this time period for older children (custodial guidelines for infants less than 18 months old do not consider summer break as these children are yet to be subject to school schedules). Kids between 18 months and three years of age are afforded 3 periods of four consecutive days with their non-custodial parents during the summer. Non-custodial parents are also given two extended periods of custody during the summer in which they can have the kids for two consecutive weeks (the custodial parent is also allowed one week of uninterrupted custody). In either case, both parents are required to give the other at least 60 days notice of their vacation plans. 

Are you eligible for survivor benefits after a divorce?

As the spouse of a member of the military in Richmond, you no doubt are asked to make many personal sacrifices in order to accommodate your spouse's service. One of those may be establishing yourself professionally due to the constant relocations that military service often requires. As a result, you remain dependent on your spouse's military income. That dependence continues if you choose to divorce, and perhaps even after your ex-spouse retires. Yet what happens if the die before you? Typically, the families of members of the military who pass away are entitled to survivor benefits. Yet would you retain that eligibility after your marriage has ended? 

You can provided that your ex-spouse agrees to keep you listed as a beneficiary of their survivor benefits (often, that agreement is mandated as part of a divorce settlement). However, according to Title 10 Section 1447 of the U.S Armed Forces Code, you must be eligible for this benefit. To be eligible, you must have either been married to the servicemember at the time they become eligible for military retirement or have a child together. 

Are you ready for a divorce?

Marriage is one of the strongest symbols of human optimism in Kentucky. Despite increasing divorce rates, many people continue to walk down the aisle, hoping for a lifelong commitment. Such a commitment is indeed possible, but it takes two to tango and sometimes your partner may be dancing to a much different tune.

That said, you may now be wondering if divorce is the right course of action. According to The New York Times, couples should approach divorce with the same careful thinking that led them down the aisle. So, with this in mind, here are a few questions you should ask yourself before filing for divorce.

Where military divorce intersects with civil divorce

Most United States citizens have a template of divorce ingrained in their minds from books, film and other media portrayals. Divorce is a growing part of the U.S. landscape. Sadly, too many children receive their understanding of the divorce process from their own divided-family experience.

Military members were once civilians. They may retain the U.S. cultural picture of how divorce works in America. After entering the military, former civilians may not have reason to learn that military divorce and civilian divorce intersect—until they wish to separate from a spouse.

Maintain control over your child's post-divorce life

While custody laws in Kentucky protect the best interests of the child by design, when these matters go to trial, they wind up in the hands of a judge to whom your child is a stranger. At The Grinnell Firm, we believe that it is better and healthier for parents and children alike if you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding custody and/or visitation matters outside of court. That way, you as parents maintain control over the decisions that will affect your child's life after the divorce, and your family can avoid the stress of going to court. 

Custody and visitation are often contested issues in a divorce, and it is easy to see why. As parents, you and your spouse each want to maintain as much time together with your child as possible, and while you certainly each want what is best for your child, you may have fundamental disagreements over what is in your child's best interests. There are now a number of alternative dispute resolution methods, including the collaborative process, that may allow you to reach an agreement without taking the matter to court. 

Grounds for divorce in Kentucky

There may be any number of reasons why couples in Richmond choose to divorce. Yet as the laws regulating divorce have changed over the years, so too has the perception of the reasons why people separate. Most have likely heard the term "no-fault divorce" yet not have a strong understanding of what it means. A review of the shifting philosophy of what constitutes grounds for divorce in Kentucky may help to better define it. 

Section 403.050 of Kentucky's Domestic Relations Code details the state's "divorce from bed and board" law. The years past, one had to prove that their spouse was at fault for ending their relationship before a divorce could be granted. If such proof could not be found, one could then be granted a divorce from bed and board (which equates to a legal separation). Although this law remains on the books, it is no longer cited. 

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