Asset Distribution and Debt Division

There are two central pieces of the equitable distribution puzzle in Northern Kentucky as a divorce unfolds.

  1. The Division of property.
  2. The Division of debt.

They also tend to be the most overlooked after the divorce is complete.   Divorce decrees will tell how these divisions are to be completed and give a time limit to them being completed.  Unfortunately this does not always happen as agreed.  Spouses may delay in refinancing home loans or auto loans out of the other spouses name which might not seem like a big issue until a payment is missed and both parties credit scores take the hit.  Assets may be required to be divided and one party might be waiting on the money to purchase a new home after the divorce.  What if the ex spouse does not comply with the courts ruling and produce the money when it is needed?  It is important to understand things don’t always go as planned and additional legal action may sometimes be necessary.

At our office, we’re committed to assisting our clients with their questions and concerns over these processes whether they are going through mediation, negotiation, collaborative law, or a traditional litigated case. When developing a strategy for equitable distribution, we review factors like inheritances or gifts, the value of the property aligned with each spouse, any property received prior to the marriage, and the contributions of each spouse towards the marriage property.

Property and debt division will depend on the circumstances of each individual divorce. For example, some couples may agree that there is no marital or shared property/divorce. More often than not, however, there will be some items to discuss.

There are three different stages to property division in a divorce.

  1. The court first must be able to determine which assets are marital and not marital.
  2. The non-marital property will be officially assigned to the appropriate party.
  3. The remaining property will be divided equitably.

Most property obtained and acquired over the course of the marriage will be included as marital property with limited exceptions.

The first stage of the property division process is very important, since it determines what property is marital or non-marital. We can provide you the proper guidance in order to ensure that all of the non-marital property is kept in your possession to protect your interests in the distribution of marital property. Under Kentucky law, the court must divide marital property under what’s known as “in just proportions”. All relevant factors can be explored by the court, although adultery or other marital misconduct cannot be considered.

The official consideration and settlement of assets also includes any debts accumulated during the marriage. Since this can influence the financial standing of an individual after the divorce.  The division of property may also bring forth serious tax consequences for either party, so seeking assistance and guidance during equitable distribution is important.

The final decision regarding property and debt issues is generally concluded with a marital settlement agreement or the details may be outlined in the official Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. It’s important to remember that the equitable distribution of divorce does not mean that assets or debts are divided equally; rather the court takes a “fair” approach towards analyzing and distributing assets. Each stage of the property and debt division process can be important for determining what happens after the divorce decree is issued, so don’t underestimate how valuable an experienced lawyer can be in obtaining an agreeable outcome.

Property Rights & Division

In your divorce, division of property may be one of the most important aspects of the decisions handed down. The majority of divorces in Northern Kentucky will have shared or marital property that must be considered and divided by the court.

The judge will begin the three stages of property determination by classifying each item as non-marital or marital property. This is an important distinction, since the court will automatically assign all non-marital property to the spouse who claims it. The court must divide items that are jointly owned. The second stage of the property determination is assigning each party’s non-marital property to the party who owns it. Then begins the assignment of equitable distribution of marital property.

It’s critical to hire a Northern Kentucky attorney with experience in this type of case because this gives you the best possible outcome with regard to retaining all of your non-marital property and ensuring that all marital property is indeed divided equitably. The determination of equitable property can be confusing, so experience can make a big difference in the bottom line.  Property make take several different forms over the course of the relationship. For example, one party’s inheritance may be used on a joint purchase. That joint purchase might be considered marital property.

Kentucky is what’s known as a separate property state. The rights to property only become activated in a legal sense if the couple has decided to move forward with a legal separation or divorce. This is different from community property states, where property acquired during the marriage is automatically considered marital. Kentucky judges take in a complete picture of the marital situation during the marriage in order to inform their decision of what that picture will look like when the marriage dissolves.

When it comes to items that require a value assessment, parties might agree with one another on a reasonable valuation of the item or items. If parties cannot come to an agreement on certain assets, an appraiser will be used.

Another common concern in divorce cases with property division is whether and how this division could affect a maintenance award. In Kentucky, property division determinations happen before a maintenance award is evaluated. The judge is required to consider “all relevant factors” when determining a maintenance award, including whether or not one party received sufficient assets during property division.

Kentucky courts have expanded the consideration of what counts as property over the years, including items like intellectual property, workers’ compensation awards, and even advanced degrees. Presenting a comprehensive picture to the court of all the property and assets involved is critical, which is yet another reason why hiring qualified Boone attorneys is important.

Although property division can appear confusing and overwhelming, having an attorney to guide you through the process can lift the veil and ensure that the court considers a complete and total evaluation of your situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to discuss your case and begin formulating a strategy for your divorce.