What Are The Top 5 Common Issues In Any Divorce?
In this Video Patrick Copley talks in very general terms about divorce and the five basic issues that you are going to have in most divorces. 1) is child custody, 2) is child support, 3) is spousal maintenance, 4) is asset distribution and 5) is debt distribution.
First of all, when most people hear the term “child custody” what they think is where is the child going to be living and when. Before you get to that issue, there is the issue of legal custody. In most cases, it is going to be joint 50/50 legal custody. Legal custody is basically decision-making rights in regards to the child or children. So, where is the child going to be going to school, major healthcare decisions, who is the child going to be hanging out with, extracurricular activities, childcare providers, those types of decisions in 95% of cases are going to be joint 50/50 legal custody. The second step is going to be a residential custody schedule. One of the main things a judge is going to look at, and this is on both sides of the state line, is going to be what is the child use to. We don’t want to upset the apple cart too much for the child or children. So, we want to keep things as normal as possible for the child. What is the child used to? Who is their normal provider? Who is their primary childcare provider? What does the child do during the day as far as outside childcare? Where do they go to school? Are there other siblings or half siblings or step siblings that are important to the child? We do not want to change things too much for the child at least in the very short term.
As far as child support goes, both states have their own formula for that. The important numbers to look at are gross income of the mother, gross income of the father, what work-related childcare expenses are there, if one side is paying spousal maintenance to the other, and then are there any extraordinary expenses. Do you have a child that has a lot of healthcare needs or educational needs, such as tutoring? Things like that are all going to be baked in to the formula. One last thing would be health, dental, and vision insurance premiums, those are important also.
The third step is spousal maintenance. This is basically alimony. In Johnson County Kansas, specifically, the starting point in the guidelines is 25% of the difference in the parties’ income for one-third of the length of the marriage.
As far as asset and debt distribution, both states statutes say that the marital estate will be divided in the manner that is fair and equitable. Normally that is going to be close to 50/50, although it does not have to be 50/50. If it is a long marriage with a large martial estate and when the parties got married, they were young and did not have much of anything and now they have accumulated vast wealth, even if it was just one party who was in the work force, who was earning the income, that still is going to be deemed the martial estate and it is going to be split 50/50. It does not matter, in a marriage, the way things are titled. One last caveat regarding the asset and debt distribution is that they can play off of the spousal maintenance calculation. So, if you have an individual for whatever reason just does not want to pay a lot in spousal maintenance then you could shrink that and make the asset and debt distribution go more in favor of the party who should be receiving the spousal maintenance. If an individual wants to be paying more for spousal maintenance, maybe for tax purposes, then the other side maybe won’t get as much in the asset and debt distribution. If you have questions about any of this, contact a lawyer here in our family law division at Copley Roth & Davies.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20-minute phone consultation (913) 451-9500.