Love & Finances: How Things Get Divided
February is the love month and it’s a good time to consider your finances, especially if you’re considering cohabitation, separation, or divorce.
Clearly, property division is one of the thorniest parts to a divorce or separation. “Who gets the stuff?” is a question for the parties to attempt to mete out as fairly as possible or submit to the Court at a cost that may not justify the value of the personal property. Some things are invaluable, undoubtedly, and may justify a Court’s intervention. Pets, for example, are property, but the Court could determine who is the more fit party to have their care and control.
Kentucky law provides for the assignment of nonmarital property and the division of marital property in just proportions. Certainly legalese for lay people, but terms you should be familiar with before embarking on a new financial joint venture or exiting one before the great thaw.
Broadly, property obtained post marriage is classified into two categories: property that was yours before you married or an inheritance, bequeath, or devise you receive during marriage, and property that you obtain after marriage. Even those two categories can have some crossover when parties commingle assets, but avoiding tangled webs of what is non-marital and marital property can be simple if you know the rules in advance.
Kentucky is a just proportions, rather than a community property, state when Courts are called upon to divide property. Property, loosely defined for divorce purposes includes both real property and personal property, investments, vehicles, insurance policies, furniture, and more. While many people believe Courts will divide all of the above equally between the parties, Courts must operate instead to divide property between spouses in a fair way considering the totality of assets of debts that comprise the marital estate, accounting for non-marital property assigned to each spouse. Courts will review settlement agreements for lopsided divisions to safeguard against fraud and duress in the making of agreements that allow one party such a lion’s share of the estate so as to leave the other party destitute in an agreement that might “shock the conscience” of the Court.