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Edgewood Kentucky Family Law Blog

How "birdnesting" may make divorce easier for children

When personal relationships turn sour, most divorced parents in Kentucky with children still want to make things easier for their kids during the transition process. One way some parents are achieving this goal is with what's termed "birdnesting" or "nesting." It's a concept that involves maintaining the family residence as a home. However, parents take turns living with their children while otherwise residing in separate homes.

In situations where it's not possible to maintain multiple homes after a divorce, a modifying approach to birdnesting may be possible. For instance, the marital home may be maintained while both parents have a sort of time-share arrangement with a smaller, less expensive studio apartment nearby. The purpose of this type of setup is to keep the environment as normal as possible for children.

Seeking the marital home during a divorce

It's fairly common for a spouse going through a divorce in Kentucky to seek ownership of the marital home as part of their settlement. Sometimes the quest for the family home is a struggle that's ultimately resolved by the court or lengthy negotiations between legal representatives. There are also times when a spouse expresses a willingness to let the other party simply buy them out. However, this type of arrangement may not be so simple if certain issues are not considered before moving forward with the transaction.

Before claiming ownership of the marital home during a divorce, it can be helpful for a soon-to-former-spouse to determine the size of a home's equity to avoid unforeseen legal obligations. When there is no contention over the home, a spouse may sign over ownership with a quit claim deed. However, this step could be troublesome if loan responsibilities are still shared. The non-owning spouse failing to make loan payments and being faced with costly repairs due to previously undetected defects are among the potential problems that could make ownership of the marital home less desirable.

Money mistakes to avoid when a marriage ends

Recently divorced Kentucky residents may have an urge to sell investments or splurge on a new home or car. However, these can be among the worst decisions a person can make after ending a marriage. By selling stocks or taking distributions from a 401(k), it may necessary to pay extra taxes. Those who take money from a 401(k) before age 59 1/2 could have to pay another 10 percent early withdrawal fee.

Getting the house in a divorce settlement isn't always a good idea either. While a home may have sentimental value, it can cost a lot of money to maintain. Keeping the house can also be a poor choice if there is negative equity in it.

Collaborative divorce may make your marital breakup easier

The feeling of filing for divorce is no doubt bittersweet. On the one hand, you cannot wait to get on with your own life. On the other hand, you might loathe the idea of going to war with your future ex-spouse over the family house or alimony.

Fortunately, not every divorce proceeding in Kentucky has to turn into a full-blown war. Your divorce may become less bitter more sweet with the help of a process known as collaborative divorce.

Premarital cohabitation could be linked to divorce

The vast majority of Americans in Kentucky and across the country think that it is a good idea to live together before marriage. However, one study indicates that couples who move in together before getting married may be at a higher risk for divorce. Various studies in the past have indicated that couples who live together before marrying may be more likely to divorce, but some social scientists have speculated that the effect may decrease over time as premarital cohabitation becomes more socially accepted. However, this study indicates that people who lived together may actually be more likely to face marital difficulties.

Of course, these studies still have a number of confounding effects. People who do not believe in moving in together before marriage may also have strong beliefs in opposition to divorce. Therefore, the same factors that keep them from living together may keep them married; the statistics alone do not indicate anything about the health or happiness of the people involved. The study was drawn by analyzing data related to American women aged 44 or younger who married for the first time between 1970 and 2015.

Co-parenting after a divorce

Every year, many parents in Kentucky file for divorce. These separations often have major effects on families. However, parents who pay special attention to their children's needs can help their kids bounce back after the stress of separation.

It is important for divorced or separated parents to maintain a consistent routine for their kids. Divorce comes with many unexpected changes. That's why it's a good idea for parents to discuss their expectations about chores and other activities at home and school. One should be supportive of the other parent's decisions regarding discipline.

How having more money could make a divorce more likely

When couples in Kentucky have similar credit scores, their relationship may also be more likely to last. This was one of the findings of research by the Federal Reserve Board. People with higher credit scores are also less likely to leave committed relationships. However, money can be a worry for many couples. A SunTrust Bank survey found 35 percent of respondents said it was the main issue in their marriage, and attorneys report that wealthier couples could be more likely to divorce.

Having a high income does not always mean that couples have no money worries. One attorney says he sees couples who bring in over $1 million annually but have nothing put away in a 401(k). In some of these couples, there might also be an income disparity, leading to tension, if one person is the main or only earner. The couple might also have little time together if the high earner puts in long hours and travels frequently for work. Another strain could arise in two-income couples if they still fall into traditional gender roles. Sometimes in these relationships, the husband manages all the finances, and this could lead to problems in the marriage.

Experts predict rise in divorce costs because of tax act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed at the end of 2017 means that divorce could become more expensive for couples in Kentucky. For example, parents will no longer be able to take turns claiming children as exemptions.

Instead, there will be an increase in the head of household deduction. Claiming head of household requires that the person be single, have the dependent in the household at least half the time and pay more than half of the household expenses. This parent can also claim the child tax credit. Since the IRS has not yet issued guidance, it is not clear whether this will be tradeable. Parents may want to include language in the divorce agreement that allows them to trade the credit if it becomes possible.

Taking steps to prepare yourself for a child custody hearing

Making the decision to dissolve a relationship can be scary and intimidating, especially if you and the other party have children together. You may wish to shield the children from harm throughout the process, but no matter how you handle the situation, it will likely impact their lives, even if only temporarily.

While you and your soon-to-be ex may both wish to provide for the needs of your children, you might not completely agree on how to go about achieving this goal. If you are unable to reach an amicable arrangement during negotiations, you might find it advisable to begin preparing for a custody hearing.

Study suggests certain occupations may increase divorce risk

It's not unusual for stress related to work to be a factor that contributes to the end of a marriage in Kentucky. However, there's new research suggesting that certain occupations may result in workplace situations more likely to adversely affect marriages. A previous study on relationships and the availability of possible partners of the opposite sex found that men living in communities with higher populations of women were more likely to have shorter marriages. The more recent study focuses on gender ratios where people spend most of their day: at work.

The big takeaway from the study is that having more potential partners in the workplace results in a higher rate of divorce, a correlation that was stronger for men than women. For the study, researchers looked at the work and relationship histories of married couples in Denmark over several years. It was discovered that men working in traditionally male-dominated fields like construction were less likely to end their marriage than women working in the same occupations.

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Dietz & Overmann, PLLC
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Edgewood, KY 41017

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