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When Kentucky lawmakers passed an equal parenting time and joint custody presumption law that went into effect in the summer of 2018, I don’t recall it asking the family law bar our thoughts or seeing much opposition. Maybe it was because many of us anticipated it and several Judges in Jefferson county were clear they were “half time Judges” prior to its passage.
Separation and divorce aren’t inherently complex processes. Local Rules, statutes and case law govern every step from filing to Decree. Equally strong currents may influence outcomes though, most notably for Americans today, the stock market and the economy. Like divorce, “the market” can be a roller coaster ride: You’re up. You’re down. You’re all around. The close of 2018 sounded alarm bells for investors. The beginning of 2019 brought a sigh of relief as stocks recovered. The “plunge” may seem farther away now, but don’t put your safety harness and helmet away yet.
A Kentucky Domestic Relations Commissioner handles family law cases. We no longer use them in Jefferson County, but other counties still have them. They function much like a judge in that they hear evidence, listen to the attorneys and clients, have the power to set child support and perform other related duties.
When a client hires me to represent them in a divorce, they sometimes ask, “Should we involve a counselor?” My answer is an immediate, “YES!” In fact, if possible, that counselor should be involved prior to actually beginning the divorce proceedings. The emotional, financial and other important issues require the proper perspective and clarity so that the individual can focus and emerge in a healthy state of mind. While we can’t go back, our mindset can help us to move forward.
Jefferson County, and the rest of Kentucky, has a system of no-fault divorce. This means that either party can file for a dissolution of marriage, regardless of the issues or factors. The current system allows for divorce to be for any reason, or no reason at all. While this makes the process relatively easy, the emotional impact is still very real and painful.
Dealing with divorces involving high net worth individuals are complicated by the sophisticated financials. Elaborate investment portfolios, business income and other factors require the attorneys to sometimes involve experts to truly determine the actual income a person generates, which is used in child support and other calculations.
Even after a divorce, especially one that is highly contentious, communicating with your ex-spouse can be extremely difficult. There are deep emotional issues involved. Poor communication may have been one of the core reasons for the divorce in the first place. Unfortunately, how you communicate with your ex can have a lasting impact on your child.