The Hoskins, Hill & Hill Corbin attorneys help families in and around Whitley Co., KY, with a broad range of family law issues. In many family law disputes, we can help the parties reach an agreement without having to appear in court or go to trial.
We understand that legal issues within families can be complex, emotionally painful, and difficult to discuss. But when you come to us for legal help, you can be assured that we will listen without passing judgment and be respectful of your family’s need for privacy. If you need help with your family law matter, call us today at (606) 528-7181.
Types of Family Law in Kentucky
Partnership, Marriage, and Divorce
Many disputes in family law can arise in the course of a couple’s relationship. When relationships begin or end, parties may find they need legal assistance with issues such as:
Cohabitation and Prenuptial Agreements. Couples that choose to live together and purchase property together can work with a lawyer to create an agreement about how property and assets will be divided if the relationship ends. A cohabitation agreement may also include specific language that could resolve future arguments, such as who is responsible for paying the mortgage.
Antenuptial agreements, commonly called prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” can help protect assets in the event of divorce or if one spouse precedes the other in death. Kentucky law allows a surviving spouse to claim one half of a deceased spouse’s estate, even if the deceased had specified other arrangements through a will. People who have been married more than once and have children from a previous marriage may use a prenup to ensure the children receive their rightful share of the estate.
Having a legal cohabitation agreement or prenuptial agreement is not a sign that partners distrust each other. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that in a long-term relationship, there will be times when partners disagree about issues; working together on a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement allows people to decide early in their relationship how they will handle those moments.
Legal separation. There are a number of reasons for a couple to decide to file for legal separation before divorce. The court will grant a legal separation only if both spouses agree to it. While legally separated, the couple retains the same rights they had in marriage – for example, a spouse without health insurance could remain on the other spouse’s insurance policy during separation. After one year, either spouse may file a motion to convert the separation into a divorce.
Divorce. Some divorces are uncontested, and spouses retain a divorce lawyer only to draft the divorce documents and file paperwork with the court. Contested divorces, wherein the spouses cannot reach an agreement about all issues, require a greater degree of legal advice. Determining division of assets and property, as well as child custody arrangements, may require a lot of back-and-forth communication between the spouses’ lawyers.
Maintenance. In a divorce decree, a spouse may request maintenance, formerly known as “alimony.” Maintenance is the term for post-divorce spousal support. The purpose of maintenance is to ensure that a spouse doesn’t experience undue financial hardship after divorce. The spouse with greater assets, more property, or a higher-paying job may be ordered to pay a fixed amount to his or her former spouse, for a set amount of time, and the court will consider several factors when deciding whether to award maintenance and, if so, what the amount should be.
Juvenile Law Issues
Because children can experience long-term emotional damage from being at the center of a legal dispute between adults, Hoskins, Hill & Hill works hard to quickly resolve juvenile law issues, including:
Custody. Child custody disputes may arise out of divorce, but they also may occur when a family member feels a mother or father is an unfit parent. In these cases, unless the petitioners qualify as de facto custodians, they must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the parent or parents are unfit or have abandoned the child. If the petitioners have been the primary caregivers and financial providers for the child for a certain period of time, they can be considered as the child’s de facto custodians and will be given the same standing as the child’s parents, which means that they must show only that it is in the child’s best interests for custody to be awarded to them. A party may appeal a court’s custody determination.
Kentucky has guidelines the court uses to determine visitation schedules in a divorce. However, parents don’t always follow court orders, and disputes may arise when one or both parents fail to follow the court-ordered visitation schedule. A parent may ask the court to enforce terms of the visitation agreement. Grandparents have no legal visitation rights, but they may ask the court to grant those rights.
Parental rights. A welfare agency or concerned citizen may file a petition with the court to have a child removed from a dangerous situation. These cases often arise after a parent has been arrested for abuse, neglect, or drug use, but they may also be initiated when the Department for Community Based Services receives a tip from a caller. Kentucky law requires anyone with a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect to report it.
The Hoskins, Hill & Hill law firm wants to help people achieve outcomes that – when possible – keep family bonds in tact. Common disagreements like custody disputes and arguments about who will care for an aging parent can cause resentment between family members. Getting legal help can bring resolution to these contentious issues.
Sometimes, parties can reach an agreement through our mediation services, wherein we facilitate a discussion but represent neither party. And often, we are able to help clients resolve family law issues without the necessity of going to court.
Whatever your family law needs may be, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with us. We’ll listen carefully and help you through what may be a difficult time. Call us today at (606) 528-7181, or fill out our online contact form.