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Northern Kentucky Family Law Blog

Options for dividing a home during a divorce

One of the most complicated conversations that Kentucky couples need to have when going through a divorce is determining what will happen with the family home. Unlike other assets that can more easily be divided, the home has memories and emotions attached to it. Couples usually have three options that they can choose from when deciding what to do with the family home after looking at practicalities and the emotional well-being of the entire family.

An option that is usually simple is to sell the home and then divide any money that was made from the sale. Each individual will then find a new home where they will be able to start over.

Pitfalls for business owners in a divorce

Business owners in Kentucky may find their businesses in jeopardy if they get a divorce. A document known as a buy-sell agreement can set out the terms if one owner divorces. It might include how the business will be valued and how the divorcing partner's stake can be bought out. This can also protect other partners in the business. Without such an agreement, partners could find themselves in business with one of their ex-spouses.

When one partner in a small Tennessee company was going through a divorce, his fellow business partners had to borrow money to buy out their partner. In other cases, the financial strain caused by the divorce can mean business owners bring negative emotions into the workplace, and that affects their employees. This was the case for one business owner who felt that it was fair for his ex-wife to receive half the value of his business but who also had to borrow money to pay her. He eventually had to leave the company because of the damage he did to his relationship with his employees and partners.

When social media comes to family court

Social media is a major part of life for many people in Kentucky, and people who process major events in their lives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram may wish to do the same thing when it comes to their divorces. Some studies indicate that heavy social media users are more likely to divorce or become unhappy in their marriages. When those divorces move forward, however, people may want to think twice about their posts, especially if they post to a public audience or to a widespread group of shared friends. After all, 81% of divorce attorneys say they have come across social media evidence worth introducing in court.

Most people who separate receive a no-fault divorce, so people do not use social media evidence to prove infidelity. Instead, social media posts may have much more importance when it comes to property division. Some people attempt to hide assets from the family court in an attempt to walk away from the divorce with a greater share of marital property. Social media posts that show off other homes, boats or cars that have gone unreported can serve as proof that assets are being hidden. Some people may not report their cryptocurrency gains in court, but they may brag about them in a Facebook post.

Penuptial agreements can protect ideas as well as assets

When matrimonial attorneys in Kentucky and around the country were polled in 2016, three in five of them said they were drafting more prenuptial agreements. What the survey did not reveal is that many of these prenuptial agreements were requested by individuals who wanted to protect their ideas rather than their assets. Entrepreneurs are usually dynamic individuals who are convinced that their business ventures will grow and thrive, and they may request prenuptial agreements to prevent the fruits of their labors being divided in a divorce settlement.

Prenuptial agreements may also be requested by venture capitalists or business co-founders who may be reluctant to invest time or money into a venture that could change ownership in property division negotiations. When spouses are awarded business interests in a divorce, there is no guarantee that they will be qualified to wield the influence they have been granted. When entrepreneurs do not have a prenuptial agreement in pace, investors or business partners may ask them to provide a spousal consent form. This document assures backers that spouses will not be able to use the shares they are awarded to exert control over the business and vote for board members. Spousal consent forms may also prevent shares awarded in a divorce from being sold.

Divorcing couples have options for the family home

For many people who are going through divorce in Kentucky, the family home is the most valuable asset they own. In some cases, the couple sells the house in order to divide the proceeds in the divorce settlement. In other cases, especially those where the couple has children, one spouse buys out the other and keeps the house. Some of the steps are the same either way because the value of the home must be determined as part of the process.

The first step is usually to determine how much equity the couple has. The equity in the home is the value of the home minus any outstanding mortgage debt. A certified appraiser can assess the home's value. Both parties to the divorce should be involved in choosing and paying the appraiser, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Alternatively, both spouses can hire their own appraisers to value the home independently. If the two appraisals are similar, the estimated value is established.

Divorce linked to certain personality traits

People in Kentucky decide to divorce for a wide variety of reasons. Couples may struggle with financial stress, separation, infidelity or addiction, or they may simply grow apart. However, there are some common personality traits that have been frequently linked to divorce. There isn't any single reason for the end of almost any marriage, and each couple's story is unique. Still, if people are aware of problematic personality types and behavior, they can help their relationship survive by taking care to mitigate their effects on their partner.

One troublesome personality trait often associated with divorce is narcissism. This may seem unsurprising because narcissists tend to frame themselves as the victim in any type of conflict. They may refuse to take any responsibility for their role in conflicts and develop even greater alienation from their partner as a result. People who are narcissists may have a fundamentally skewed view of the balance of roles in a relationship, leading to serious problems if partners begin to assert themselves. On the other hand, insecure people with fragile egos are also more likely to get divorced. Insecure people may seek out attention from others in order to prove themselves attractive, an easy step toward infidelity. They may also drive partners away after expressing distrust for no substantive reason.

Key ways to make divorce less miserable

Many people in Kentucky and other states would agree that when it comes to horrible life experiences, divorce would definitely appear high on the list. Unfortunately, it is a reality for almost 50% of all marriages. Thankfully, couples who are at the end of a marriage can do things to make the situation a bit more tolerable.

One of the worst things a person can do during a divorce is internalize their feelings. They may want to put on a brave face for family, friends and others. Instead of internalizing negative feelings, it would be better to lean on family and friends. Having a support system can help an individual no matter how difficult the situation gets. Another option would be to discuss their feelings with a therapist.

How big is the impact of money on happy marriages?

Couples in Kentucky who are facing financial difficulties might be interested in the findings from a study that focused on marital satisfaction over the first five years of marriage. The general belief in the past was that couples began their married journey full of excitement that declined over time into a feeling of contentment. This belief was based on an earlier study that focused on middle-class white couples. Researchers, however, were concerned that this belief was linked to socio-economic factors, so they looked at couples in low socio-economic areas in Los Angeles to see if this had an effect.

The study, published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, studied couples who fell into three categories at the beginning of marriage: those who exhibited high, moderate or low levels of satisfaction. What the study found was that couples exhibiting high and moderate levels of satisfaction at the beginning of their marriage continued to show satisfaction in their marriage over the next five years. But the couples who had low initial satisfaction showed a higher risk of decline.

Dealing with the marital home's mortgage during divorce

When spouses choose to divorce in Kentucky, the decision over how to handle the marital home can be complicated. Depending on the amount of equity at stake, the family home may be the most significant jointly held asset. If the house is not sold, one spouse will generally walk away from the divorce in possession of the property. However, ownership comes with significant financial costs.

Dealing with the mortgage can be a major concern. If the original joint mortgage is kept, both spouses remain fully responsible for the debt. However, any default can be seriously damaging to both parties' credit, so many spouses want to end this entanglement when the divorce is completed. In other cases, the joint mortgage is refinanced into one spouse's name. This can present some challenges, because one spouse will need to show the income and capacity to pay for the entire house on their own credit alone. In other cases, one spouse can assume the original mortgage if the original loan documents allow for loan assumption.

When older couples divorce, finances can get complex

While the rate for divorce in general has been stable for a while, gray divorces, or those involving people over age 50, have doubled since 1990. As some Kentucky residents have discovered once they begin the process, grey divorces usually involve more complex financial dealings as couples have often acquired more assets throughout their married life.

As Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, the division of assets during divorce can be very complex since this means fair division of assets between the spouses. The court or an arbitrator decides what fair division means for each case. As part of the process, alimony is usually negotiated. Each state has different rules on how to set up alimony, but it should be based on total compensation, not just salary, which can include bonuses, allowances, compensation packages, stock options and company ownership.

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