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When mediation is not possible in divorce

Divorce is, by its very nature, an extremely stressful time for couples. What was once a shared union turns into a permanent separation, one that involves many important decisions about finances and family. 

While some couples are able to find shared solutions through mediation and collaborative divorces, other couples do not have the ability to come to the negotiating table. Here are some situations in which it may be necessary to turn to an attorney with specific skills in trial litigation to successfully pursue a divorce.

What you should know about Kentucky's point system

Kentucky, like most other states, has a point system whereby convictions of traffic offenses considered to be moving violations are assigned point values and are placed on the driver’s driving record maintained by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This agency explains that should a driver accumulate 12 points within 24 months, his or her driver’s license is suspended. For drivers under 18, the number of allowable points during the 2-year period is only seven before suspension.

DriveSafely.com reports that each Kentucky driver’s driving record is maintained for five years. While each violation’s points are removed two years after the date of conviction, the ticket stays on the record for the full five years. Note that the periods begin running as of the conviction date, not the date when the citation was issued. Also note that the periods are not calendar years. “Year” means a 12-month period from the date of the oldest conviction.

What are the differences between assault and battery?

If you are a Kentucky resident who has been charged with assault and battery, you may think that these are two words that mean the same thing. FindLaw explains, however, that while assault and battery are related offenses, they are separate and distinct from each other. The reason why most people confuse them is because they most often are charged together. In fact, some states, of which Kentucky is not one, have combined them into one crime.

To be convicted of either assault or battery, you must have had the requisite intent and you must have committed one of the specific requisite acts. Both the intent and the act are different for each alleged crime.

How do you settle an estate in Kentucky?

When a loved one dies, you may be responsible to settle the estate. To help you navigate the settlement, the Kentucky Court of Justice has published some guidelines regarding probate procedures.

The Chief Justice introduces the process by defining the term "probate" simply as "settling and administering estates, guardianships, curatorships and name changes." His simple description hopefully makes the protocol seem more routine and less intimidating for you. In addition, he lays out the general responsibilities you may have as an administrator, giving clear guidance for where to start. 

Different types of criminal charges

When residents in Kentucky face criminal charges, those crimes are slotted into different categories. Depending on what a person has been accused of doing, they could be facing several different types of charges. All of them have their own potential penalties and reflect different severities of crime.

According to the Legal Dictionary, a felony is defined as a serious crime that outranks misdemeanor charges. Felony charges are always met with a prison sentence of over one year and in the most severe of cases, is even punishable by death. Crimes that fall under a felony charge include treason, burglary, rape, murder, manslaughter, or arson.

How to make sure your pets are taken care of after your death

When it comes to addressing the needs of a beloved pet after the death or incapacitation of the pet’s owner, Hollywood has it a bit wrong. In many movies and television shows, pet owners leave their entire estates to their furry family members, thus complicating the plot. It is true that things would get complicated if you tried to leave your fortune to your dog or cat in your will, since pets are considered property and cannot legally own an estate. However, at the law offices of Lonneman & McMahan PLLC, we know how you and other Kentucky residents can make sure your pets are cared for if you die before them.

It can be easy to assume that one of your family members will assume responsibility for your pets if you die or need to move to a care facility that does not allow pets. However, this is an unsafe assumption. There are many reasons your relatives might not take your pet into their home. They might have allergies or not like animals. Everyone might assume someone else is taking on the responsibility. They might have other pets that do not get along with yours, or have too much on their plates already. For these reasons and more, countless pets end up abandoned or taken to shelters when their owners die, instead of being cared for by someone they know and trust.

Is Kentucky a no fault divorce state?

If you are a married Kentucky resident thinking about filing for divorce, you may be worried about how to proceed, how your children’s custody and visitation will be handled, and a myriad of other issues. You will be glad to know that, per the Legal Aid Network of Kentucky, Kentucky is a no fault divorce state. When you file for divorce, you need not claim that your spouse did anything to destroy your marriage. All you need to claim is that it is irretrievably broken.

There is nothing that your spouse can do to stop you from getting a divorce. There is, however, a residency requirement. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the Kentucky county where your divorce is filed for at least six months prior to the filing date. There is also a mandatory waiting period of at least 60 days before your divorce can become final. During this period, you and your spouse must attend Families in Transition classes and the court can issue temporary orders regarding custody, child support, and other matters.

What to include in your parenting plan

Transitioning from living with your spouse and children in one home to having your children travel back and forth between you and your ex’s space is an adjustment, but there are steps you can take to help streamline the process. One such step involves creating a parenting plan, which is essentially a written agreement between two parents that sets guidelines and determinations in any number of areas with the hope of avoiding conflict later on.

Just what should you include in your parenting plan? There is no single answer to this question because the contents of parenting plans vary broadly from one family to the next. However, there are certain areas that many parents choose to cover in their parenting plans:

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

If you are a Kentucky resident thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering which type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is right for you. As FindLaw explains, both types of bankruptcy give you debt relief, but there are substantial differences between them.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies usually are simpler and less time-consuming. Not surprisingly, they therefore account for about 71 percent of all bankruptcies filed. In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kentucky, however, your annual income must be less than $40,633 if you are single and less than $47,788 if you are married.

Understanding a plea bargain

Kentucky residents charged with a serious crime may be unclear as to whether or not they should allow their attorney to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The American Bar Association advises that a plea bargain is a negotiation between the prosecutor and the defendant and his or her attorney leading to an agreement as to certain things regarding the case.

Per FindLaw, the three types of plea bargains are as follows:

  1. Charge plea bargain: The prosecutor agrees to drop one or more serious charges in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty to one or more lesser charges.
  2. Sentence plea bargain: The prosecutor agrees to recommend a lesser sentence in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty to the crime(s) with which he or she is charged.
  3. Fact plea bargain: The defendant and his or her attorney agree to stipulate to the truth of certain facts in the case in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing not to bring up other facts during trial.