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Richmond Divorce and Family Law Blog

3 tips for a faster divorce in Kentucky

It is no secret that divorce is costly, which is why some couples choose not to go through with it. While some expenses are inevitable no matter your circumstances, the rest you have more control over than you may think.

For example, dragging out the process raises the bill significantly. However, you can take these steps to shorten divorce proceedings and thus lower the cost.

Stop missing support payments as soon as possible

At the Grinnell Law Firm, PSC, we know that there are many reasons someone might miss a support payment or two. Temporary setbacks are part of everyone's lives in Kentucky, and sometimes these momentary hurdles get in the way of our clients' abilities to make good on their obligations to their former spouses or their children. 

We are also well aware that some setbacks are not as temporary as others. Life-changing events, such as an injury, relocation or a change in career, might leave an indelible mark on an individual's life, precluding him or her from fulfilling part or all of a divorce agreement. Luckily, we are often able to reforge these agreements within the constraints of state law in order to better fit our clients' new situation.

How can I talk to my kids about divorce?

Among the many difficult aspects of getting a divorce, talking to your kids about the matter is probably the most challenging. While your children are bound to feel a range of emotions, you can lessen the blow by approaching the subject in the appropriate manner. Accordingly, Parents.com offers the following advice to parents in Kentucky to help them speak to their children about their impending divorce.

Plan Out What You Will Say

Can my tax refund be intercepted over back child support?

The divorce process can be difficult for many different reasons, such as the division of marital property and concerns about spousal support payments. However, child support is often an especially concerning issue for those with kids, from custodial parents who worry about their former partner's ability to make payments to non-custodial parents who fall behind on their obligations. If you have been unable to pay child support or worry that you will lose the ability to stay current because your job has been terminated, it is important to avoid falling behind and understand some of the consequences associated with back child support, such as tax refund interception.

According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement's website, parents who have unpaid child support may have their tax refund intercepted under the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. Depending on the amount of back child support you owe, your tax refund may be intercepted partially or entirely. If your refund is offset, you will receive a notice, but this has caught many parents completely off-guard. Moreover, there may be other consequences associated with falling behind on payments, such as losing the ability to obtain a passport.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

If you’re working through custody issues in Kentucky, you may be wondering what the best option is for your family. In most cases, divvying up parenting time proves to be in the best interest of the child at the center of the custody battle, although this can be a difficult process for many parents. Accordingly, The Washington Post explains the important role that parenting plans play for many divorced couples.

For many years it was believed that one parent should be awarded sole custody while the other would be privy to visitation rights. However, in recent years many courts have been reluctant to use this standard in the belief that both parents should have a healthy and loving relationship with their child. Shared parenting is the preferred option in this case, and it’s reflected in the way the courts talk about custody. For instance, instead of referring to sole and legal custody, many courts speak of decision making (i.e. who is responsible for making major decisions on behalf of the child) and parenting time.

How custody law change in Kentucky affects fathers' rights

A recent change to Kentucky's custody law may be a significant win for fathers' rights in the state. Kentucky has become the first state in the nation to make joint custody a default for separating parents. 

This new law has several important implications for divorcing or separating couples in Kentucky who have children. Child custody is often at the very center of divorce disputes, with fathers sometimes feeling that the mother is at a distinct advantage in the eyes of the law. With this change, the law aims to level the playing field in terms of child custody for both parents.

Man fighting to adopt baby woman tried to give away

Most might be correct in assuming that a vast majority of custody cases involve children and their biological. There may be, however, times when a step-parent, foster parent, or even one who has yet to meet a child might step in and press for custody. While legal parentage is of course well-defined, the concept of "parent" can apply to anyone. Simply because one does not share a biological link with a child does not mean that he or she is less capable of rearing said child than the kid's biological parents

A U.S. soldier currently stationed in South Korea is hoping to get that chance to prove that very point. He is seeking custody of the baby boy his soon-to-be ex-wife recently delivered in Arizona. He had gone through the pregnancy believing the boy to be his own, yet was later told by his wife that was not the case (DNA testing has since confirmed this). He still appears, however, to care deeply for the child, and has concerns about the boy's safety after his wife apparently tried to (quite literally) give the baby to another couple. She succeeding in giving the boy away, yet the man and woman who took him were later arrested in Texas. The baby is now in foster care while his mother and the couple she gave him to are facing criminal charges. 

Explaining the 20/20/20 Rule

As the spouse to a service member in Richmond, you are likely well aware of the challenges that many military couples face. If those challenges have prompted you to seek a divorce, you (like many of those that we here at The Grinnell Firm, PSC have worked with in the past) are probably facing a very uncertain future. So many military spouses make sacrifices to support their husbands' or wives' service that they end up in a position of relying on them for many of their basic necessities. While married, those necessities were met thanks to your spouse's military benefits. Will that access continue now that you are divorced? 

Health insurance is typically one benefit that is not easily replaced. If you are not immediately able to secure gainful employment, securing coverage on your own could be next to impossible. Fortunately, the military does allow you continued access to Tricare provided you meet a certain set of criteria. Known as "The 20/20/20 Rule," these criteria depend on both the duration of your marriage and the length of your ex-spouse's military career. 

Spousal support, taxes and agreements

Divorcing couples in Kentucky who are already embarking on the process of coming to an agreement on how to split their assets and debts know that there are many factors to take into consideration when making these decisions. One of these factors is taxes. Another may be the payment of spousal support. Some divorce settlements include provisions for alimony that may help offset other losses experienced by a particular spouse in another part of the agreement.

Historically spouses who have had to pay alimony have been able to deduct the amount they pay from their taxable income. The United States Depratment of Labor also explains that spousal support-paying people have also had the ability to tap into their 401K reserves to satisfy these payments and still have been able to avoid the tax liability associated with them.

What happens if I fail to pay child support?

If you are a Kentucky resident and fail to pay child support to the custodial parent, there are multiple ways the Child Support Enforcement Office can enforce the order and collect the money you owe.

According to the Kentucky Customer Service Website, the action that the office will take may vary based on your financial situation and other circumstances surrounding the case. For instance, if there is illness, unemployment or unexpected hardships involved, they may be taken into consideration.

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