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.