Frequently Asked Family Law Questions
A divorce proceeding requires the judge to make permanent decisions on important issues such as child custody, child support, alimony and property settlement. Knowing your rights in these areas is important to making sure your needs and the needs of your children are met following a dissolution of marriage. Below, the family law attorneys at Hoffman Walker & Smith answer frequently asked questions on Kentucky divorce law. For help with a divorce or other family law matter, contact our office in Florence for assistance.
Where do I go to file for divorce?
In order to file for divorce in Kentucky, either you or your spouse must have been a Kentucky resident for 180 days prior to filing. The proper place to file your petition is with the family court, which is located in the circuit court of your county of residence. Kentucky law requires that you have been a resident of the county for three months in order to file your petition for dissolution of marriage there. It is possible to file in a county where you have resided for less than three months, but the other party could challenge this filing and ask the court to transfer the case to another court or even to dismiss the petition.
What if I can’t afford to pay alimony or child support anymore?
Orders for spousal support and child support entered in a final divorce decree are meant to be final; however, it is possible to go back to court to seek a modification of a domestic relations order, so long as you can prove that changed circumstances justify a post-divorce modification. Examples of changed circumstances may include a job loss or decrease in your income, an increase in the other party’s income or a change in the needs of the children. Your motion to modify the divorce decree must be made in court, and the other party has the right to appear and challenge the modification.
My ex has custody and wants to move out of state. What are my rights?
Your ex should not move out of state or any distance away that would change the current arrangement for custody and visitation without first getting approval from the court. You have the right to challenge the proposed relocation in court on the grounds that the move would not be in the child’s best interest. You will want to be represented by an experienced attorney to help you prove your case.
What do I need to bring for our first appointment?
Our Northern Kentucky attorneys will be better able to advise you on your first consultation if you bring with you the following:
- Copies of all prior pleadings filed in your case, if any
- Documents proving dates of birth, dates of death, date of marriage, social security numbers, and all other relevant documents to prove personal information
- All relevant financial documentation
- All relevant property documentation
- All evidence you have to support your case, including emails, texts, pictures, writings, police reports, and any other evidence you have
- Completed copies of the client intake form for your type of case
See the Consult Documents page and the Forms page for more information
How long does it take to get divorced?
The soonest a divorce can be finalized is 60 days after the divorce was filed, or in some cases sooner if there are no children. For all practical purposes, however, the process usually takes longer, particularly if there are disagreements about how certain issues will be decided, such as child custody, child support, alimony and the division of property. These issues may take some time to sort out, and mediation or litigation may also be required. If a hearing needs to be held on these matters, the divorce process may take a year or more to be finalized.
While it is understandable that you may want to get the divorce over with as quickly as possible, it is more important to take the time necessary to make sure the outcome is fair to you and your children. The decisions made by the court in a divorce will continue to impact you and your family for years to come, so it is better to get it done right than to get it done fast.
What can I do if my ex refuses to pay support?
You may be able to get assistance from the office of Child Support Enforcement in the Department for Income Support. For instance, they can help you get child support payments withheld from your ex-spouse’s wages. There are also other legal means for obtaining support that your family law attorney may be able to help with.
How is property divided in a divorce?
Kentucky law requires the judge to make an equitable distribution of marital property. In most cases, property is divided equally between the spouses, although the court has authority to award more property to one party than the other. It is very important to make sure that every asset and debt is located, properly characterized as marital or separate property, and correctly valued. These matters can be quite complicated depending on the nature and complexity of the marital estate.