London Divorce & Custody Attorney
Our family law clients come to the Cessna & George Law Firm in many ways. Some are former clients or family members of former clients who we helped with a personal injury or criminal law matter and now need help with a divorce or child custody matter. Others hear about us from friends or co-workers as a law firm they can trust to provide them with honest advice and dedicated service to help them meet their needs.
These are the qualities people often seek out when they need help with a divorce or child custody matter, and our London divorce & custody attorneys are happy to put our knowledge, skills and experience to use helping individuals and families resolve a dispute or work together to move on with a new chapter in their lives. If you need help with a contested or uncontested divorce in London or a child custody or child support matter in Southeast Kentucky, call the Cessna & George Law Firm to discuss your needs and goals.
Help With Uncontested Divorce
Kentucky law recognizes no-fault divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Requirements to file for divorce include that at least one of the spouses has lived in the state for at least 180 days, and the couple has lived apart for at least 60 days. Living apart does not necessarily require that one of the spouses has moved out and acquired a separate household. The spouses could be living apart in different areas of the house (not sleeping together) and meet this requirement.
If both parties agree on getting a divorce and also agree on how to settle all applicable issues, the divorce is considered uncontested. A contested divorce can be resolved quickly and does not require going through litigation or having a trial in court. Instead, the parties work together to create a marital settlement agreement or separation agreement that they present to the court. If the judge decides the agreement is fair and valid, the court will grant the divorce and incorporate the terms of the agreement into the divorce judgment.
Issues that must be decided in a marital settlement agreement include the division of marital property and debts and the payment of maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support. If the couple has children together, then issues of child custody and child support must also be addressed.
The Cessna & George Law Firm can help you obtain your uncontested divorce by negotiating, drafting or reviewing a separation agreement that meets all your needs, protects your interests, and will be accepted by the court. Even when you and your spouse agree in principle, resolving these matters in a formal, written agreement can be tricky. There may be complicated issues regarding property, support or custody. When couples hit a snag, the whole process can unravel, causing the divorce to become contested and more contentious than it needed to be. With our legal advice and representation, we can help negotiations stay on track and quickly resolve the divorce without destroying relationships or creating ill will.
Help With Contested Divorce
If you and your spouse are not able to work out these issues on your own, they can be resolved through litigation and trial in a contested divorce. A contested divorce does not have to be hostile; it only means the issues are better resolved through the traditional adversarial process. If emotions are running high, then having legal representation is essential to protecting your rights and ensuring your interests are represented in the final judgment. In a contested divorce, our attorneys look out for your needs and goals in the following areas:
The court divides the couple’s marital property in “just proportions” after considering all relevant factors, such as the contribution each party made to acquiring property or serving as a homemaker; the value of each person’s property; the length of the marriage; each party’s economic circumstances; and whether it is desirable to award the family home to the custodial parent. Marital misconduct is not a factor in the property division. The Cessna & George Law Firm can help ensure that every asset and debt is properly characterized as marital or separate according to Kentucky law and that every piece of property is accurately valued, including complex assets such as the valuation of a business or apportionment of retirement assets.
The court can award maintenance to either spouse, but only if the party seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs and is unable to support themselves through appropriate employment, or if the party is the custodian of a child and needs to stay home to care for the child rather than seek employment outside the home. The court will award maintenance as it deems just after considering all relevant factors, such as the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance; the time needed to acquire education or job training to become self-supporting; the standard of living established during the marriage; the length of the marriage; the age and health of the parties; and the ability of the payor to pay maintenance and still meet his or her own needs. The Cessna & George Law Firm represents parties seeking maintenance or being asked to pay in a Kentucky divorce.
Judges will decide a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children. Courts start with a rebuttable presumption in favor of joint custody and equally shared parenting time. If the parents disagree over this arrangement, then each party will submit evidence and argue in court for a different outcome, which might be unequal parenting time or sole custody if warranted. The judge is empowered to interview the children or seek advice from professionals, as well as weigh the evidence introduced by the parties.
Child support is determined according to the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines, which take into account each parent’s income and the number of children to be supported. The Cessna & George Law Firm can help ensure that all applicable income is reported by you and your spouse for a fair outcome for your kids. While the guidelines amount is presumed to be appropriate, this presumption can be rebutted with evidence at trial. The judge is authorized to deviate from the guidelines if they are unjust or inappropriate based on the special needs of the child or a parent. The parents can also agree to a different amount instead of using the guidelines. We can represent you in this process to help ensure you and your children are taken care of and not taken advantage of in the child support order.
The Cessna & George Law Firm Is Here for Divorce and Child Custody Matters in London
For help with separation, divorce, child custody, or child support in London or other communities in Southeast Kentucky, call on the Cessna & George Law Firm to represent your interests and find a solution that meets your needs.