Family Law

Kentucky Contested and Uncontested Divorce, Custody, Support & Visitation Attorney

Seth R. Thomas, Your Knowledgeable Lawyer for Your Family Law Needs

Going through a divorce or a custody battle can be a difficult and exhausting experience. I can help you through these tough times and work to get you a favorable result so you can move on with your life. I work individually with each client to make sure their needs are met, and it is my goal that your concerns are heard and understood. Call today (859) 885-6575 for your free initial consultation.

My practice encompasses many family law issues, including:

Divorce

Our office has handled hundreds of divorces with all kinds of issues that arise from divorce cases, such as determining which assets are marital and non-marital property, dividing that property, alimony/maintenance, child support, child custody, visitation/timesharing and many more ancillary issues.

Many people are interested in what is commonly referred to as "Uncontested Divorce."  This is unsurprising, since an uncontested divorce can be as little as $500 in addition to the filing fee, depending on the location and complexity of the case.  Our office initiates and finalizes many divorces each year without either party ever having to appear in Court.  Divorce may be one of the most difficult times faced by either party in their life.  Large attorney’s fees and emotional disputes in Court can amplify that difficulty to say the least.  Many couples have found that it is not always necessary to litigate their divorce, and that they may be closer to agreement than they initially thought.   If you want to be able to get divorced quickly and cheaply, you need to be able to talk openly enough with your spouse to reach an agreement on all the issues such as personal property, vehicles, bank account, debts, real property, custody, timesharing, child support, taxes and maintenance.  If there are sticky issues, it is best to discuss them with a skilled attorney who can give you crucial advice about how to keep your divorce process from degenerating into lengthy litigation where each party is angry and resentful of the other.

In cases where it is clear that no agreement will be reached without some litigation, our office can still help you navigate your divorce, no matter what the issues may be.  

Post-Decree Divorce Issues

Often after parties have been divorced they find that either their ex-spouse is not abiding by the agreement or that the circumstances leading to the agreement have changed so substantially that a modification may be necessary. Custody, timesharing and child support are always reviewable, even after an agreement or final order has been put in place. Our office can help you either modify such provisions or help you enforce provisions of the agreement or order which your ex-spouse will not adhere to.  Our office has gained many clients in the past who were previously represented by other attorneys and who desired a different approach.  

Child custody

Balancing the best interest of the child(ren) and the rights of the parents can be very challenging. Our office can help you protect your children and your parental rights while securing custody and visitation arrangements that benefit the entire family.

In cases where parties have children but were never married, either parent can file a petition for custody. Generally either the parties admit paternity of the child or a DNA test can be ordered. The process of reaching a custody arrangement can either involve agreement of both parties on all issues or it can involve lengthy litigation and hearings with sworn testimony. Other issues can be addressed such as the child’s last name, the child’s school, medical providers, babysitters and child care, extracurricular expenses, health insurance, and a myriad of other potential problems between parents.

Child support

While state guidelines generally dictate the amount of child support to be paid, there are exceptions and deviations that I can help you address.  Most importantly, a skilled attorney can help ensure that the child support calculation is done right the first time with sufficient evidence of the figures included on the child support worksheet.  This may involve seeking information from your ex-spouse/partner such as wage stubs, W2s, tax returns, insurance premium cost breakdowns, child care cost proof, and other things which may be difficult to obtain without an attorney's help.  

If you are seeking child support from a recently divorced spouse or have a child with someone to whom you are not married, then time is of the essence! Once you file a motion for child support, if you are eventually successful, that amount will be backdated to the date you filed the motion. This is important because sometimes it can take up to two months before a decision is reached on child support. Our office can help you file for child support and include all the necessary information to ensure that it gets done right the first time.

If you are paying child support and are seeking to pay less because a change in circumstances, it is equally essential to file sooner rather than later, as any reduction in child support is backdated to when you filed the motion. To determine child support, the following information is needed:

  • Income of both parties
  • Whether either party is receiving child support for a prior born child or has a prior born child living with them
  • The amount paid for child care costs
  • The amount paid for health insurance for the child(ren)
  • Whether either party has older children for whom they pay or receive child support
  • Whether either party is receiving or paying maintenance to a prior spouse

Even when all this information is not available at the outset, our office can help you estimate what the child support payment might be based on a range of possibilities

Grandparent visitation

Kentucky law permits grandparent visitation where it is in the best interest of the child. I can help you obtain grandparent visitation so that you can preserve these special relationships.  Our office has represented grandparents in contested hearings where the Court found that it was in the best interests of the children to have regular contact with the grandparents.

Paternity

Paternity representation includes determinations of paternity as well as any custody/visitation or child support issues that arise as the result of those determinations.

When there are significant changes in circumstances, an original divorce, custody, or child support decree may no longer work for all the parties. I can help you obtain the modifications you need to make the arrangements fit your current life situation. I can also assist you with contempt and enforcement actions for child support orders

Guardianship Law

Caring for a disabled child who has reached the age of majority or for an elderly family member or friend with age related decline such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can often be extremely taxing emotionally, financially and even physically.  The issues in giving such care can be enhanced at times because the person being cared for cannot or will not consent to care or treatment which is clearly in their best interests. Worse still, this person may be suffering from or at risk of exploitation from other family members or members of the community. Fortunately, in such situations you can file a petition to be appointed as someone’s guardian and/or conservator. A guardian handles a person’s day to day affairs and can either have limited or full decision making authority. A conservator manages a person’s money and must make annual reports to the Court on how that money is managed. If you file a petition, the Court will appoint a lawyer as a guardian ad litem for the person against whom you are seeking guardianship, and that lawyer will represent their interests. Then an interdisciplinary team made up of a physician, social worker and psychologist will all evaluate the person to see if they believe guardianship and/or conservatorship is warranted. Then a hearing will take place with a six person jury to decide whether to grant or deny the petition. More information can be found at http://kyjustice.org/node/568

Domestic Violence

In Kentucky a party who feels they have experienced an act of domestic violence from a spouse, dating partner, live-in partner, person with whom they have a child, or a family member, can file for an Emergency Protective Order (EPO), which can be granted without a hearing by a judge or master commissioner. This emergency order can be in place for up to two weeks, at which time it must either be renewed, dismissed, or converted into a Domestic Violence Order (DVO). Once an EPO has been issued, a court date for a hearing will have been set to determine whether the Judge will convert that EPO into a DVO that can last up to three years, and which can be renewed by request.

A DVO is startlingly easy to obtain in Kentucky, primarily since Courts are correctly predisposed to protect victims.  However, it is not uncommon for people to abuse this process for a number of reasons, including but not limited to child custody, living arrangements, money, and of course, plain old vindictiveness and desire for control.  If you have been served with an EPO and a summons for a DVO hearing, you should immediately seek legal counsel to discuss the matter prior to your hearing. Having a DVO can greatly affect you ability to seek employment in the future, as well as restrict your ability to own a firearm. Moreover, if you have children with the person who has filed an EPO against you, you may be at risk of losing your ability at least temporarily to obtain visitation with your children.

Adoption

Whether you are pursuing an adoption as a step-parent, a family member, or as an unrelated party through an adoption agency, our office can help you initiate and finalize your adoption.

 

Contact Seth Thomas Today

You can email me at sethrlaw@gmail.com or call (859) 885-6575 to discuss your family law needs in a consultation.