If you are facing a family issue - whether divorce, child custody, child support payments, or a domestic violence situation - it may be one of the most stressful times of your life. Family and domestic legal issues mean significant changes are happening in your life. Having the right lawyer can improve the outcome of a legal situation and make it easier to handle. Divorce and family cases involve a legal process that is difficult and time-consuming.
At Carmona Law, our attorneys are here to advise our clients about their future, their options, and best and worse case scenarios. We will be by your side, advising you during the mediation process, trial, and every step of the way.
An uncontested divorce can be achieved when both spouses are in agreement on how to divide up the marital assets and debts. The couple will also need to agree on how to divide up the care and support for any children involved. This is the quickest and simplest way to file for divorce. An attorney from Carmona Law can sit down with you to work on drafting the legal documents required to achieve your goals.
When a couple is not in agreement then the matter can be filed as contested. Carmona Law will work closely with you to determine what issues are most important in your divorce and fight to help you get those results. With a contested divorce the Petition, Case Data Sheet, Financial Disclosure and VS 300 are filed to begin the case. The second party will then file their Answer to the Petition and their own Financial Data Sheet. Once that is complete an attorney will work closely with you to evaluate your case and determine if more motions need to be filed before working toward a final resolution.
Once a case resolution is ready to be negotiated there are a few different ways to go about achieving a resolution. Initially, we can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney outside of Court to reach a settlement agreement that both parties are willing to agree to.
If negotiations break down, then Mediation is the next step to finding a resolution. During Mediation both parties and their attorneys will sit down with a neutral, non-judicial third party. It is the Mediator’s job to work with both sides to assess the issues that are unresolved and work toward a resolution both parties can agree upon. Mediation has proven to be an effective tool but does not work every time.
When Mediation does not result in an agreement then it is necessary to have a hearing and/or trial in front of the Judge. During the proceeding each side will present testimony and evidence to argue their side to the Judge. The Judge will then make a Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law to resolve all outstanding issues.
Custody and Visitation
If you are married and have children with your spouse, then child custody will be determined as part of the divorce case. We know that custody of your children is often one of the most important determinations you will make while dealing with your divorce or family case. That is why we work to make sure you are informed of your options and work with you every step of the way to work out custody and visitation.
The standard in Kentucky for both legal and physical custody is what is in the best interest of the child. When we are working on custody issues, we look at joint or sole legal and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to who will be making the major life decisions regarding your children - will it be one parent alone, or both parents, meaning that you have joint legal custody. Legal custody deals with who will be making decisions about the children’s health, education, religion, and welfare. One major consideration when determining which parent should have sole legal custody of the child is whether the parents is involved in the child’s day-to-day life and whether that parent spends time with the child.
Physical custody refers to where the children live on a regular basis. It can be shared by both parents or granted to just one. The parent who has physical custody is responsible for the daily care and control of the child, including hands-on care, such as ensuring attendance in school, bathing and feeding a child. Physical custody can be jointly held, wherein the child lives approximately 50% of her time with each parent; or one parent can have sole physical custody.
Both legal and physical custody arrangements can be set up in different ways, taking into consideration children's activities, parents' jobs, and how much distance is between the parents' homes, among many other factors.
If the parents were never legally married and issues concerning the children arise, then a custody action would be filed.
Visitation and Parenting Time
If one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent would almost always want an order establishing regularly scheduled time to spend with the children. Whether parents were married or not, visitation and parenting time can be constructed in many different ways depending on the age and needs of the children. Parenting time also addresses how holidays and vacations will be split. A very common arrangement is for one parent to stay in the family home with the kids, and the children would see the other parent at regularly set times. In legal terms, the parent with sole physical custody is the custodial parent and the other is the noncustodial parent who has visitation rights.
Another important part of a child custody case is the child support that a parent receives to take care of the children.
Kentucky uses a standard method to calculate child support, which factors in both parents' incomes.
Click above to access the Kentucky child support calculator to see an estimate of what child support, if any, you may receive or have to pay. You can also download the Kentucky Child Support worksheets here.
In order to determine the child support estimation, you need to know:
The amount of spousal or child support that you or your spouse is paying under a preexisting order (i.e. for a prior-born child or a previous marriage),
Both yours and the other parent's gross income. “Gross income” could include all sources, including independent contractor income other wages, bonuses and commissions from a job, and even military pension.
A court could also assign income to a parent who the court determines is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed (unless they cannot work due to disability or if they are caring for a young child under the age of 3).
Families also must determine which parent will provide medical insurance for the child, and if there are any medical expenses not paid by medical insurance, how those costs will be handled.
Some families may not require court intervention to decide visitation schedules and custody. However, families may need help in establishing, modifying, or enforcing child support orders. The attorneys at Carmona Law are here to help. We can assist you in all stages of child support in family court as well as in criminal court.
Whether you are seeking to enforce a child support order against the other parent, or you are the parent required to pay, we are here for you. When child support orders are being enforced, the case typically begins as civil contempt motion in family court. However, if payments keep getting missed and arrearages get high enough, then criminal charges can be filed. If payments have not been made for six (6) months or are greater than $1,000.00 then the parent who is behind on payments can be charged with a felony, Flagrant Nonsupport.
Carmona Law can help represent you in those cases and help find a way for you to pay down your debt.
If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic violence there are many resources available to you. If you are in immediate danger, a list of resources are available here. It is important to understand that domestic violence is an issue that can affect both men and women. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may wish to seek a protective order, which is designed to prevent further acts of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In a protective order case, the victim is named as Petitioner, and the accused Respondent. In either scenario of domestic violence, call us today so that we can guide you through this difficult and often frightening process.
Types of Kentucky Protective Orders
In Kentucky, there are two types of protective orders: Domestic Violence Orders and Interpersonal Protective Orders.
Domestic violence orders ("DVOs")are issued for:
Family members (spouses, ex-spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren)
Members of an unmarried couple (people who have lived together as a couple or people who have a child together)
Interpersonal Protective Orders ("IPOs") are issued for:
People who are in, or have been in, a dating relationship
People who have been sexually assaulted
People who have been stalked
Protective Order Process
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can contact the Court in your county to seek protection from your abuser. Each county has a domestic violence intake center where victims can file for emergency protection from their abusers in the form of a court order. When you arrive at a domestic violence intake center, a court employee will take information about what happened and it will be presented to a Judge. Judges review petitions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and should review your petition immediately. If the judge believes that domestic violence and abuse/dating violence/stalking/sexual assault exist, the judge will issue a summons for a hearing within 14 days. If the Judge believes that there is immediate and present danger of domestic violence and abuse/dating violence/stalking/sexual assault, he or she will issue an emergency or temporary protective order.
At the DVO hearing, the Petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that an act of of domestic violence and abuse has occurred and may occur again in order for the judge to be able to enter a protective order. During an IPO hearing, the Petitioner by a preponderance of the evidence that an act of dating violence and abuse, stalking, or sexual assault has occurred or may occur again. In both situations, a Judge may order the following:
Order's maximum duration: 3 years (can be reissued, but Petitioner must request);
No contact between the parties;
No further acts of domestic/dating violence or abuse;
Temporary child support and custody orders; and
Domestic violence classes or counseling
Furthermore, when a Judge enters domestic violence order (but not in interpersonal violence cases), a federal gun prohibition usually applies automatically against Respondent.
Whether you are the Petitioner or the Defendant in a Domestic Violence, case the attorneys at Carmona Law can help. We can represent you during the hearing by presenting evidence to the Judge to tell your side of the story. At Carmona Law, we also handle criminal cases and can represent you if criminal charges emerge from the altercation. When you are a defendant in a domestic violence case it is extremely important to be represented by an attorney will criminal experience who can protect your rights. Our attorneys can advise you of your rights
in regards to testifying and how your testimony may be used outside of the hearing.