Divorce and Family Law FAQs

Divorce and Family Law FAQs

There are many misconceptions about family law and divorce in Shepherdsville and the surrounding communities and counties.  Here are some of the most common divorce and family law FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) we are asked:

What is Family Law?

Family law in Kentucky relates to issues in the family household, and relationships between the members of a family or extended family.  Family law generally includes but is not strictly limited to:

  • Contested or Uncontested Divorce
  • Military Divorce
  • Child Custody, Visitation, Parenting Time
  • Relocation and/or Move Away Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Property Division in a Divorce
  • Division of a Business Interest or Professional Practice in a Divorce
  • Division of Pension and Retirement Assets in a Divorce
  • Spousal Support or Maintenance
  • Post-Decree Modifications to a Divorce Decree
  • Paternity Actions
  • Separation Agreements and Legal Separation
  • Domestic Violence
  • Step-Parent Adoption

What Options Are There for Divorce in Kentucky?

There are two options to end a marriage in Kentucky:

  • Contested Divorce
  • Uncontested Divorce

What Does it Mean That Kentucky is a No-Fault State for Divorce?

What does it mean that Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state?  In Kentucky you do not have to show “fault” on the part of your former spouse.  Therefore, you may seek a divorce without even stating a reason (it is presumed to be that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”) as long as one of the spouses desires to no longer be married.  There is not a burden of proof regarding the state of the marriage, it only requires a statement from one of the parties that the marriage is irretrievably broken without any chance of reconciliation.

What is Required for an Uncontested Divorce in Bullitt, Hardin, Spencer, Shelby, Oldham and Jefferson Counties

One of the most common divorce and family law FAQs regards the qualifications for an uncontested divorce. The key to an uncontested divorce is that both parties must be in complete agreement on every issue in the “separation agreement” including (but not limited to):

  • Disposition of the Home
  • Division of all Assets and Debts
  • Child Custody & Visitation, Parenting Time
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Division of Retirement Accounts

What is the Difference Between “Temporary” and “Permanent” Orders in a Family Law Matter?

Orders regarding child custody, child support, as well as spousal support or maintenance are often described as “temporary” or “permanent.”  In this context, “temporary” generally means for the duration of the divorce case, until the Judge issues final orders toward the end of the divorce.  “Permanent” does not mean forever.  Permanent in this context simply means from the end of the divorce going forward.  Often the Court will place a time limit on “permanent” orders. 

There are two main types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody is the right to make important decisions in the child’s life such as those affecting education, healthcare, religious practices, etc.  Physical custody is basically the right to have a child live in your home and to have them with you.

How is Child Custody Determined in Kentucky?

Another of the most common divorce and family law FAQs we are asked is “how is child custody determined in Kentucky?” There are many factors that influence the determination of child custody and visitation in Kentucky.  The central guiding issue in child custody matters has been “the best interests of the child.” Family Law now presumes that “joint custody and equal shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child.”  However, there are many things for the Court to consider when deciding child custody.  The Court will consider the existing rhythms of each child’s life surrounding school, their health, activities and religious practices (among other factors).  The Court will consider the unique ability of each parent to provide a safe home, and an environment that supports the best interests of the child.

Why Do I Have to File a Paternity Action?  I’m On The Baby’s Birth Certificate – Don’t I Have Rights as a Father?

If you were married to the baby’s mother at the time of the child’s birth, yes, you have rights as a father under Kentucky law.  If you were unmarried at the time of your child’s birth you must often seek formal recognition by a Kentucky Family Court to obtain your full legal rights as the child’s father. 

In Kentucky, there are two ways to establish paternity when the parents of a child are unmarried: the parties can either sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) or the father must begin a paternity action.

Until you assert your “paternity” legally, the mother of the child has full legal and physical custody over the child and as such maintains all authority for decisions regarding to visitation, parenting time, relocation, education, health care, religion, etc.

Even if you completed registration at the hospital and have paid child support you still do not have legal rights as the child’s father in Kentucky with regards to custody and visitation until they are asserted in Court and established by the Judge in your case.

We hope you have found these divorce and family law FAQs to be helpful, but they are not intended to constitute either legal advice or the full extent of an answer to any issue under Kentucky Family Law.  My name is John Schmidt and I have served the people of Shepherdsville, Mount Washington, Shelbyville, Taylorsville, Radcliff, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown or Louisville, Kentucky in family law matters for more than 25 years.

If you are reading this blog post you obviously have questions about a family law matter.  It doesn’t cost you anything to open a conversation with a free consultation.  We invite you to contact us via e-mail, schedule an appointment or call us today at (502) 509-1490 to get answers to your questions and to learn more about your unique circumstances and how to protect what is most important to you in your family law case.