Dissolution of Marriage (uncontested)
If you can reach an agreement on all issues, the legal process will be streamlined and your case can be resolved with less cost to the parties, based on the issues in your case. When there are children from the marriage, the former spouses will have contact with each other, more so until the children are no longer minors, but beyond that for important family occasions and events in the children's lives. So it is often helpful to plan for your post-marital relationship by reaching an agreement that is fair to both spouses. After the divorce, if the parties are unable to agree on an issue, they need to either follow what is written in the agreement or go back to court. Therefore, your attorney needs to make sure the agreement is complete as possible on current issues and any that may arise in the future.
Dissolution of Marriage (contested)
You may not be able to agree on all issues. Usually when children are involved, agreements are more difficult to reach because there are many more issues. If the parties were not able to get along while they were together, it may spill over into the divorce process. Your attorney's duty is to fully inform you of your rights and what the court may decide if the parties cannot agree. However, the ultimate decision is never the lawyer's. It belongs to you; or to the courts if the parties cannot agree. Your lawyer needs to fully prepare the case for trial by having all evidence that you want to use in a form that is admissible in court, even over the objection of the opposing trial attorney. Experts need to be prepared by your attorney before going to court to ensure they provide the necessary testimony on the issues relevant to your case.
Am I better off doing a legal separation rather than a divorce? ? In limited circumstances, a legal separation may be best for you. A legal separation may protect your property interests while at the same time allow you to enjoy some benefits that you might not otherwise be entitled to if you were divorced. Only in consultation with your attorney can you make the decision that is best for you and your family.
Common Law Marriage
If two people hold themselves out to the public to be husband and wife, are any rights or duties created? How long do we have to be together to have a common-law marriage? What if we come from a state that recognizes common-law marriage? ? Common law marriage is not a legal status that is encouraged by the public policy of the Commonwealth. Cases in this area of law are very fact specific, based on where you lived and when, and on the law of each jurisdiction, whether you resided in Kentucky or another state.
What are my rights if I live with someone but we are not married? Does it make a difference whether we are a same-sex couple? What if we had an agreement that my partner no longer wishes to follow? Does the time we spent together before marriage help me when it comes to spousal support? ? Kentucky law favors marriage, not people who live together without the rights and protections granted by the state through marriage. Gay and lesbian couples are not able to have Kentucky sanction their unions at this time. Regardless of the sex of your significant other, you may have property issues and broken promises that you need help with. While your case may not fall within established marital law, there may be contract and other legal bases by which you can petition the court for relief.
Can I get an annulment? How is this better than a divorce or legal separation? ? Annulments are rare in Kentucky. There are limited grounds and brief time limitations that must be followed in order for the courts to grant you an annulment. You should not delay in pursuing an annulment if it is important to you, as opposed to a regular divorce.
You may have an issue regarding whether your marriage is valid. For example, the other person may have already been married at the time. If your marriage is declared invalid due to bigamy, underage, incest, mental disability or other prohibition, the rights and duties of the parties will not be the same as if you had a valid marriage. Often children are produced, and the parties still need to address their legal rights and responsibilities regarding any children, the parties' assets, debts and other incidents of living together as husband and wife.