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What property do spouses need to divide in a Kentucky divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Property Division

Certain divorce challenges are essentially universal. Not every family has to worry about alimony/spousal maintenance or child custody matters, but property division is essentially universal during Kentucky divorces.

Unless the spouses already had a written contract with one another when they married, most of what they accumulate during the marriage is potentially subject to division when they divorce. In Kentucky, the courts apply an equitable distribution statute in litigated divorces. The goal is to fairly divide property between the two spouses.

All marital income and assets could be vulnerable

Married couples in Kentucky generally possess two types of property. They own both marital property that belongs to both of them and separate property which belongs only to one spouse and is likely not at risk of division during the divorce. Only certain assets qualify as separate property according to Kentucky statutes.

As previously mentioned, any assets set aside as separate property in a valid marital agreement have protection from division during a divorce. The resources someone owned prior to marriage, ranging from real property and vehicles to small business holdings, are also separate property that are not subject to division. Any inheritance received by one spouse and any gifts received during the marriage typically continue to belong to only one spouse.

Almost any other resources might be vulnerable to division. Accounts and assets held in the name of one spouse are divisible in a Kentucky divorce if someone acquired them during the marriage or used marital income for their acquisition or improvement. Certain assets, like retirement accounts, may include some marital property and some separate property. A very thorough review of financial documentation may be necessary to establish the marital and separate portions of these assets.

Who decides what happens with marital property?

The asset division process can occur in family court, but spouses also have the option of taking control of the process. So long as they reach an agreement with one another about how they can share their marital property, they have the option of setting their own terms. Otherwise, a judge may decide what becomes of their resources based on their understanding of marital circumstances.

Individuals who have very specific goals for property division proceedings, such as those who feel strongly about retaining ownership over their retirement accounts, may benefit from attempts to reach an amicable decision about the division of their assets in their divorce proceedings. Otherwise, it is all but impossible to accurately predict the outcome of property division matters. As such, understanding what to expect during a Kentucky divorce may help people better navigate the early stages of the process.