Over the years, I've had occasion to deal with a surplus of ridiculous advice given to people facing the worst event of their lives - their divorce. This advice can create many problems - discord between litigant and lawyer, poor strategic decisions and unnecessary disputes between the litigants. Once the bad advice is given and taken to heart, it takes a great deal of time and effort to dispel and results in significant expense of the litigant.
Kentucky legislators and judges have a lot to say about matters of child custody and parenting time in divorces. There are hundreds of statutes and thousands of pages of judicial opinions addressing issues of jurisdiction, of best interests, of factors to be used to determine what happens in modifications and what happens when someone leaves the immediate area. Sadly, in all of this material, there is very little said about how to act as a parent.
In Kentucky, a action for the dissolution of marriage (commonly referred to as a divorce) is the culmination of the period of turmoil that reflects a relationship in great crisis. In the months prior to the actual filing, there is usually a period of stagnation because the decisions to be made are difficult, costly and have a huge impact on the lives of the litigants. Allocations of parenting time, child care decisions, school choices, child support, alimony/spousal maintenance and the division of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of assets and debts all have to be considered, all while the couple is under severe emotional stress.
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.
In Family Law, all too frequently, we sadly see that not everyone wants or feels a need to spend time with their children. The reasons are different for each such parent - some feel that there is too much underlying strife in the relationship between the parents and rationalize that staying away is easier, some are struggling with mental illness or emotional disorders, some are mired in chemical addictions and some are simply too lazy to care. Wen this occurs, the children are inevitably impacted by that absence of emotional support, and if the parent has completely given up, by an absence of financial support.
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.
Grandparent visitation rights have long been given a special preference in Kentucky family law. Frequently, most often for very good reason, parents will deny grandparents access to grandchildren for lengthy periods, sometimes for years. When this occurs, emotional trauma obviously occurs in all of the affected households; it is typically a decision that parents do not undertake lightly.
In most property division disputes in divorces, people tend to focus on the major items. Home equity (after mortgage reduction), investment accounts, retirement accounts, interests in closely held businesses and valuable collections seldom escape notice.
Sadly, we occasionally see people in divorce or family law litigation who make bad decisions at each step of the process. These bad 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 from the start.
OK, so life didn't work out as planned, you're getting a divorce (or if unmarried, you are splitting up a household), and you are feeling enthusiasm over the fact that you are no longer going to have to live with your significant other as a lover.