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Property division can be a contentious issue in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Divorce |

For Kentucky couples who are getting divorced, there will be a litany of issues to sort through. At the forefront will be how children will be treated and helped with adapting to the new situation. Custody, visitation and support are all critical factors in the case.

So too is it important to think about alimony (also referred to as maintenance). A person who earned less than the other or potentially put their own career on hold to be a homemaker will need support to make ends meet, at least until they have education and training to support themselves.

Property division might not be an immediate priority as these other obstacles are navigated. However, people will likely have accumulated items of value while they were married. They could have joint bank accounts, retirement accounts and debt. There are often sentimental items that could be up for dispute. Understanding the law for property division and how the courts will decide who gets what should not be ignored.

Know the factors that are considered with property division

Kentucky adheres to an equitable distribution model meaning that the property from the marriage will be divided in what the court perceives as a “fair” way. That differs from community property states where any item that was accrued after the marriage will be split in half.

When deciding how to divide property, the court will look at many factors. It will assess each person’s contribution to its acquisition. While that might be viewed as meaning the person who earned the money that purchased the item will get to retain it, that is not always the case. If a person contributed in some way – even as a homemaker – then this will be factored in with the determination.

The value of the property will be considered. For example, if there is a marital home, each side contributed to its purchase, improvements and upkeep, this will be viewed carefully by the court when deciding how to divide it. The length of the marriage will be important as a longer marriage will likely mean the sides amassed more property. The court will gauge the economic circumstances when the property is to be divided. That will include whether a marital home will be awarded to one party who might remain in the home with children from the marriage.

Marital property is anything that was acquired after the couple was married, but there are exceptions. If it was gift or was given to one person as part of an estate plan, then it belongs to them. Still, if the other person contributed to its increase in value, then that increase could be considered marital property.

Be prepared to reach a fair outcome when dividing property

Property division can be difficult and contentious. Of course, in some situations, the parties are on good terms and want to end the marriage and move on as seamlessly as possible. They can negotiate and come to an agreement to split or trade certain properties. In other instances, it is not so simple.

The law can be confusing with property division and people need to be prepared and protected. From the beginning of the case, it is essential to be aware of the law and know how to reach a fair resolution. Having assistance with these and other family law matters is critical to a case.