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Family Law FAQs

If you are considering or going through a separation or divorce, you probably have a lot of questions about what the process is like and what to expect. Hopefully, the answers to the questions below will provide you with some guidance about Kentucky divorce laws and how they are applied. For advice and representation in a divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter in Jefferson or Oldham County, contact John H. Ruby & Associates in Louisville for a free consultation with one of our caring and experienced family law attorneys.

What is an uncontested divorce?

If you and your spouse agree on the grounds for divorce and all other issues which must be decided, such as child custody and visitation, child support, maintenance, and the division of marital property, then you can get an uncontested divorce, which means there won’t have to be a trial or litigation in your divorce.

Many requirements for an uncontested divorce are the same as when filing for a divorce which will be contested. The spouse seeking the divorce must have maintained residence in Kentucky for at least 180 days before filing, and the couple must have been separated for at least 60 days (the wife cannot be pregnant at the time). One spouse should complete the petition and file it with the county court clerk. The appropriate paperwork may differ depending upon whether there are any children as products of the marriage. Some petitions can be completed and filed online. As with a contested divorce, you must also have the divorce papers served on the other spouse.

You will still need to go to court to have the divorce finalized. The family court judge will want to review the agreement you reached with your spouse and ensure that you understand what it means and that is fair to both sides.

Do I need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?

Having a lawyer advise you and help you prepare and file the divorce papers will help ensure that everything is done correctly. If any required paperwork is missing or incomplete, or if you file with the wrong courthouse, your divorce could be delayed significantly. A lawyer can also draw up the settlement agreement you reach with your spouse, ensuring that it is legally enforceable and an accurate reflection of your agreement.

What happens if the issue of paternity comes up in a divorce?

If a child’s parentage has not been established prior to divorce, it should be settled as part of the divorce or in a separate proceeding. A father is legally obligated to financially support his children, and a father may be entitled to some form of child custody or visitation as well. Issues of child custody and child support are some of the most important aspects of a divorce, and it is critical to both parties to have the father’s legal status established so that the court can make enforceable orders regarding custody and support.

There are also many reasons why it is important to the child to have paternity established. A child may have a legal right to inherit from the father, or to receive government benefits such as social security or veteran’s benefits, based on the father’s eligibility. It is also important to know one’s family medical history. We help mothers, fathers and children who are seeking to establish or challenge paternity in a divorce or standalone proceeding.

What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

Kentucky law allows you to obtain a legal separation from your spouse, but a legal separation is not a divorce. Even though you are legally separated, you are still legally married. Some couples feel they cannot divorce for religious or economic reasons, while others feel they cannot live together any longer but are still holding out hopes for reconciliation. In these situations, a legal separation may be the better choice.

Just as in a divorce, the judge granting a legal separation can issue enforceable court orders regarding child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of marital property. A legal separation can last for up to a year, after which time you may either reunite with your spouse, or one party may file to have the separation converted to a divorce or dissolution of marriage.

It is not necessary to obtain a legal separation in order to move out of the house and live apart, but if you want the court to make any orders regarding issues like custody and support, you will need to go through the process for a legal separation. We can help you reach an amicable settlement with your spouse or represent you in any proceedings where domestic relations orders will be issued.

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