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FAMILY LAW

Family law issues can be extremely emotional and difficult to resolve without the help of an experienced family law attorney. The Dupree Law Firm is here to help individuals navigate many areas of law that affect their everyday lives.

 

Divorce

A dissolution of marriage, or divorce action, is the legal process to terminate a lawfully recognized marriage between two parties.  Kentucky is a “no fault” state which means that either party of a married couple may seek a dissolution of marriage without alleging “fault” of the other party (i.e. adultery, cruelty, insanity, etc.).  Rather, a Court may dissolve a marriage if the Court believes the marriage is ”irretrievably broken”. 

 

A Court will also address issues concerning the division of marital property (which includes personal property, real estate, retirement accounts, and debts);  the restoration of non-marital property (property owned by the parties prior to marriage), and the award of maintenance (also referred to as “alimony” or “spousal support”)

 

Custody

Issues of custody can come in many different forms. Some are included with a divorce actions;  some are brought by individuals who have a child together and who were never married; and others can be initiated by individuals who are not biological parents.  

When discussing “custody” we are really addressing two distinct issues regarding a minor child: legal decision making and parenting time.

 

1. Who will make important decisions for the child?

 

There are two phrases that people associate a custody case with: “sole custody” and “joint custody”.   While these terms are commonly used, they may not have any bearing on “parenting time”

 

In a “joint custody” scenario, both parents have an equal say regarding major decisions concerning their child. 

 

In a “sole custody” scenario, only one parent/custodian makes the major decisions for the child.

 

 

2. When will the parents/custodians have “parenting time” with the child?

 

While no parent wants to think about a scenario when they cannot control being around their child, both parents are entitled to reasonable parenting time with the child.

 

The determination of parenting time is very fact specific and the Court must determine a parenting schedule that serves the best interest of the child.

 

Parties can sometimes agree on a parenting schedule that benefits the parties and the child, other times a Court must set a parenting schedule when the parties cannot agree. 

In Kentucky, there is a presumption of “joint custody” and “equal parenting time”.  This presumption is based on the idea that it is in the best interests of the child for both parents to be equally involved in the raising of the child. 

However the presumption of both joint custody and equal parenting time can be overcome depending on the facts of the case.  KRS § 403.270(2) outlines some of the factors a Court will consider in determining both custody and parenting time.

 

 

Child Support

 

Child support is one aspect of divorce and custody cases that causes a lot of stress for both sides.  The receiving party deals with the worry about the paying party not paying on time, or paying the full amount or paying at all.  The paying party is concerned with keeping themselves financially stable while maintaining their child support obligation, and whether their child is actually benefiting from the support.

 

In Kentucky parents have the ability of reaching a child support agreement on their own or having it decided by the court.

 

In Kentucky, child support is governed by the child support guidelines found in KRS § 403.212 and KRS § 403.2121. Courts will utilize a child support worksheet that takes into account a variety factors, such as:  

-   gross monthly income of the parties

-   child’s health insurance cost

-   child care costs

-   spousal support

-   child support for prior born children

-   custody

-   parenting time schedule

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services provides an Interactive Child Support Calculator to estimate child support obligations.  You can find that free calculator here: Estimate Child Support.  CAUTION: This child support calculator does not take into account the custody arraignment nor the parenting time between the parties.

 

Child support will continue until a child is 18 years old, but can continue until 19 years old if the child has not completed high school. 

 

Adoption

 

Adopting a child can be a wonderful way to expand your family. It is also a major legal commitment. Consequently, the adoption process can be lengthy and complicated, especially if you don’t understand the legal steps needed to ensure success with the adoption.

 

Adoption is the process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals who are not biologically parent and child. A proceeding to terminate parental rights may be initiated in connection with or prior to an adoption proceeding. There are very strict requirements that have to be met before the parental rights of a biological parent may be terminated and an adoption concluded. 

 

Whether you are preparing to adopt a child or you are in the midst of the adoption process, you can rely on The Dupree Law Firm for essential guidance and counsel at every stage of the process. We are ready to work closely with you to ensure your adoption proceeds as smoothly as possible.

           

 

Post Decree Modifications

 

Many individuals who previously resolved their divorce or custody cases, may require or seek modifications of those prior orders.  Common examples of Post Decree Modifications include:

-   Seeking Permission to Relocate with a Minor Child

-   Modification of Parenting Time

-   Modification of Custody

-   Modification/Termination of Child Support

-   Modification/Termination  of Spousal Maintenance

 

Post Decree Modifications will be judged on a variety of factors depending on the type of modification sought.  It is important to have an experienced attorney to properly evaluate the specific facts of your case in order to be successful.  Contact The Dupree Law Firm today to discuss your individual needs and how we can help achieve those goals.

 

 

Protection Orders - EPO/DVO and TIPO/IPO

 

An Emergency Protection Order (E.P.O.) is a temporary court order issued by a judge that protects victims of domestic violence or abuse from the alleged perpetrator.

 

An EPO temporarily prevents the person it is filed against (called the Respondent) having any form of communication with the person seeking protection (called the Petitioner)

 

EPOs can only be filed by Petitioners who are considered “family members” of the Respondent.  Typical relationships include: means a spouse, including a former spouse, a grandparent, a grandchild, a parent, a child, a stepchild, or any other person living in the same household as a child if the child is the alleged victim.

 

A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is a final court order a Judge issues if it is determined at a hearing that domestic violence and abuse has occurred.  A DVO can be in effect for up to three (3) years can also address issues of temporary custody and child support

 

 

Similar to an EPO, a Temporary Interpersonal Protective Order (TIPO) is designed to protect individuals who may not be considered “family members” for the purposes of applying for an EPO, but still require protection from domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. 

 

An Interpersonal Protective Order (IPO) is a final order that provides the same protections as an DVO, and can last up to three (3) years.

 

 

EPOs or TIPOS can provide immediate protection to victims from individuals who pose a threat to their physical or emotional wellbeing.  These proceedings should be pursued by actual victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual abuse.  Oftentimes, some individuals will use these proceedings to get a leg up on the other party in a divorce or custody case. 

 

The Dupree Law Firm is here to help with the application and defense of EPOs or TIPOs.

 

 

 

Pre-Nuptial/Post-Nuptial Agreements

 

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in its basic form, is a contract between two individuals to determine their property rights before, during and after marriage.   

 

Who should consider a prenuptial agreement before marriage?

         People who…

-   Have prior marriages

-   Have children (young or old) from a prior relationship

-   Own a business

-   Have considerable amount of wealth

-   Have lots of debt

-   Have retired

-   Have or anticipate valuable inheritances/trusts

            

What does a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement do?

  • Make decisions on property division at a time when you are getting along.

  • Pre-determine how living expenses will be paid/shared.

  • Provide you with control over your property and finances.

  • Protect the inheritance rights of children and other family members from prior relationships.

  • Avoid challenges to estate planning documents (i.e. wills and trusts)

  • Protect your business and/or business partners from your spouse.

  • Protect your financial interests if you enter the marriage with a great deal of wealth.

  • Prevent the other spouse from disposing of assets if you become disabled. 

  • Pre-determine the amount and duration of spousal support/alimony/maintenance, or the waiver of the same.

  • Pre-determine rights to retirement accounts and/or waiver of the same.

  • Avoid and/or limit the cost of litigation in the event of divorce.

  • Not be responsible for your spouse’s debts in the event of a divorce.

 

Prenuptial agreements should not be viewed negatively, but rather seen as a useful life planning tool.  Contact The Dupree Law Firm today and schedule an appointment to properly plan for your future. 

Our firm offers comprehensive representation and guidance with the following family law issues:

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

ALIMONY/SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE

CHILD SUPPORT

MARITAL PROPERTY DIVISION

MODIFICATION AND ENFORCEMENT

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