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Kentucky And Indiana Law Blog

Retirement funds are a key aspect of property division

Kentucky couples going through divorce must often deal with challenging financial predicaments. This can be especially true when it comes to retirement accounts, which can represent a major asset held by the couple as part of their marital property. When surveyed in 2016, 62 percent of divorce lawyers said that issues about retirement funds are the most contentious for their clients.

Retirement accounts are governed by a number of financial and legal regulations that must be adhered to during a distribution. If the division of a retirement fund is improperly or inaccurately handled, the cost to both parties could be significant as taxes and penalties will be assessed. In addition, inaccurately handling the distribution can lead to an inequitable outcome.

Outside factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

If you live in Kentucky or Indiana and a law enforcement officer stops you and believes you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, chances are, he or she will request that you take a breath test. Conducted using devices called Breathalyzers, breath tests reveal your blood alcohol concentration to see if it surpasses the legal threshold in your state.

If your breath test indicates that you consumed more alcohol before driving than the law allows, you will likely face a drunk driving charge. Because the consequences of drinking and driving are so severe, it is critical that you have full faith in the accuracy of your Breathalyzer reading. A falsely elevated reading could lead to steep fines, community service and even time behind bars, among other possible penalties. Just what types of factors can impact your Breathalyzer reading?

Protecting finances in the event of a future divorce

When two Kentucky residents decide to get married, they may not be thinking about how they can protect their financial future in the event they get divorced later on. Many people do not like to think about creating a prenuptial agreement or other ways to protect their money when they are planning a wedding, especially since for some individuals, it can feel like this leads to expectations that the marriage will fail.

However, it is important for individuals to protect their finances for reasons other than divorce. Once a couple is married and has joint accounts, for example, both individuals become responsible for debts even if one spouse was not responsible for the debt. There are some instances where estate planning is easier if certain assets remain separate, like cash, real estate and other investments, from the other marital assets.

Encouraging fathers' relationships with children after divorce

When Kentucky parents get a divorce, the father in particular might have significantly less time with the children. Both parents may need to make a particular effort to ensure that their children maintains a relationship with their father.

This could take sacrifices on the part of both parents. For example, one mother moved 80 miles away from her son's father. When she did not have a car to take the child to meet his father, the father had to make an extra effort to keep up his relationship with his son. Finally, the mother decided to move closer to the father again. However, this meant she had to leave the home she owned and pay for a costly apartment. Ultimately, the child benefited from what both parents did to help maintain this relationship.

How to meet the best interests of a child

In most cases, Kentucky parents and others who have been divorced should receive shared physical custody of their children. This is because it is often in the best interest of the child to do so. An exception may be made in the event that a parent is abusive or otherwise puts the child in danger. However, shared parenting may not be as prevalent as it should be because of myths that have been propagated over the years.

For instance, it is thought that parents who don't get along shouldn't have a shared parenting arrangement. Some believe that this could expose the child to conflict compared to being in one home the majority of the time. However, children may actually be exposed to less conflict when both parents have custody of their sons or daughters. Furthermore, parents can usually work together to raise their children despite their feelings for each other.

Trends show an increase in remarriages

Data collected by the Pew Research Center shows a dramatic shift in the American relationship and marriage landscape over the past few decades. More couples are opting to cohabitate before or instead of marriage, biracial marriages are more popular, public support for same-sex marriages and the number of those couples choosing to wed has increased, and more people are marrying partners of different faiths.

One key trend in Pew's data also highlights the futures of divorced and widowed individuals in the U.S. In 2013, 23 percent of married people had been married before, compared to 13 percent in 1960.

Changes in taxes that occur after divorce

People in Kentucky who are getting a divorce may have several changes in their taxes. When a divorce is finalized by the last day of the calendar year, people must file their taxes separately for that year. If the couple remains separated but the divorce is not yet final, they can choose between married filing separately or filing jointly.

If there are children, another consideration is which parent is the custodial one. Usually, this is the parent who claims the dependent child exemption although the custodial parent may also sign a waiver allowing the noncustodial parent to make this claim. This parent can also take the American Opportunity higher education credit and the child credit.

Lawrenceburg, Westville: Divorce capitals of Kentucky, Indiana

There are many reasons couples decide to get divorced, and each marriage is unique. But it seems there are cities in each state where the possibility of divorce is more likely.

24/7 Wall St. recently reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the city in each state with the highest percentage of divorces among those 15 years and older.

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When a couple with children decides to obtain a divorce, one of the most common questions they will have concerns custody of the children. In Kentucky, there are two types of custody that will be decided: physical custody and legal custody.

Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child's medical care, education and general welfare. This is not to be confused with physical custody, which refers to the person with whom the child will reside. Legal custody can be either sole or joint custody. With sole legal custody, one parent has the legal right to make all decisions that impact the child's welfare; if the parents share joint legal custody, both parents work together to make decisions on behalf of their child as to education, health care and other needs.

How does the court define the "best interests" of a child?

Most parents just want what is best for their child. Judges in child custody courts want the same thing and try to make their decisions based on this desire.

In most states, courts will make a final custody ruling based on the "best interests" of the child. But how exactly does a judge determine this for a child that isn't theirs?