How do the Kentucky family courts divide marital property?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Family Law

The average Kentucky adult is unfamiliar with state divorce statutes. Most of the time, only those who have had to go through the process of divorce or support a loved one during divorce proceedings know what to expect. Most other people understandably find the rules related to divorce confusing.

Family law statutes are slightly different in every state in the country, and Kentucky is no exception to that. There are unique state rules regarding financial payments from one spouse to the other after the divorce, the division of property and the custody of any minor children in the family.

While not all families need to address financial support matters or custody, almost all married couples in Kentucky have marital property or debts to divide. How do the Kentucky family courts divide assets when spouses don’t agree on property division terms?

Kentucky judges seek a fair outcome

Married couples may share financial accounts and income for decades before they decide to divorce. It can be very difficult to negotiate terms for sharing their property after that long together.

Family law judges in Kentucky helping divide marital property should seek out a fair or equitable solution for dividing marital property. Any income earned during the marriage and most new property acquired by the spouses during the marriage is marital property that they both have a right to share. The name on ownership paperwork or financial accounts does not dictate who keeps the property if people acquired it during the marriage or with marital income.

Resources owned prior to marriage, received as gifts or inherited from others may be separate property. Almost all other property and even debts from during the marriage are subject to division. The judge looks at the details of the marriage and the circumstances of the spouses. The one factor they typically cannot consider is marital misconduct.

After thinking about the marital circumstances and the economic status of each spouse, the judge can establish a property division order splitting the resources between the two. In some cases, they may order the sale or liquidation of certain assets. They might also use debts as a way to balance the division of property. There are many different assets and financial obligations, and judges have the authority to handle marital resources as they deem appropriate.

Those who understand the unpredictable nature of litigated property division might have more of an incentive to cooperate with their spouses during the divorce to set their own terms for the division of their assets. They may also be more proactive about looking for and reporting issues with their spouse’s disclosure, such as the omission or intentional undervaluation of certain property.