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Hoge Partners, PLLC

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Louisville, Kentucky 40202

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After Your Kentucky Divorce is Final

"CONGRATULATIONS! Your divorce is now final!  What happens now?"

The legal and effective date of your divorce is the date the Court enters your Decree. Your attorney has probably provided you with a certified copy of your Decree of Dissolution, as entered by the Court. You should have also received a fully executed copy of your "Property Settlement Agreement", which was filed with the Court.

These documents should be kept in a safe place, among your other valuable records, for future reference.

There are quite a few things you need to attend to now that the divorce action is over.

If you were awarded real estate in the property division, a quitclaim deed from your former spouse to you should be drafted, executed and recorded with the County Clerk. A copy of that recorded document should be forwarded to you when it is returned by the Clerk.

You are personally responsible for contacting all your banks, investment managers, stock brokers, etc. concerning any changes that need to be accomplished with any accounts, IRAs, CDs, etc. awarded to you in the settlement.

You need to contact your insurance companies (including life, household, automobile, health, fire, casualty and liability insurance providers) to make sure that the coverage and beneficiaries are appropriate pursuant to the Property Settlement Agreement and Decree.

We recommend that you draft a new Last Will and Testament promptly to reflect your current status and create or revise any trusts affected by the Property Settlement Agreement and Decree. You should also consider preparing a Durable Power of Attorney at this time or other Estate Planningtechniques.

We also suggest that you remove your former spouse's name from any jointly-held accounts awarded to you, such as bank accounts.

You need to determine whether any of the beneficiaries named on your retirement account needs to be changed.

We recommend you notify the necessary parties, including the Social Security Administration, of your current name. You should obtain a new driver's license and credit cards, especially if your former name has been restored to you.

If you are required to cooperate in providing your former spouse with continuation/conversion application forms for health insurance (COBRA), you need to notify your employer immediately of your divorce so your employer can notify the insurance carrier within thirty days of the decree date. You will need to provide your former spouse's current mailing address as well.

If you are required to provide health insurance for your minor child or children, you need to provide proof of health insurance to your former spouse.

We recommend that you consult with an accountant to obtain his/her advice on tax consequences and tax planning.

If you are receiving maintenance, remember that "spousal support" received is considered income for tax purposes. This is only true for divorces finalized before December 31, 2018.  You will need to budget money for the payment of federal and state income taxes. Quarterly estimated tax payments may be required. We strongly advise you to consult with your accountant if you are receiving maintenance payments from your former spouse.

For divorces finalized AFTER DECEMBER 31, 2018, maintenance can no longer be taxable income for the recipient or deductible to the paying party.  (See discussion of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) on our Maintenance page.) 

If you are paying maintenance, the TCJA will have a major impact on your tax liability because periodic maintenance or spousal support payments will no longer be tax deductible for the paying party . . . unless the divorce was finalized before December 31, 2018.

If you are receiving child support payments, that income is not currently considered taxable income by you and does not have to be declared as income on your tax returns.  Further, the payment of child support has never been tax deductible for the paying party.

If you or your formal spouse experience a "substantial and continuing change in circumstances" in the future, you may be able to petition the court to reconsider your child support payments. This generally means at least a 15 percent permanent increase or decrease in the final child support obligation amount. It does not include a loss of employment, layoff or temporary work shutdowns.

If you were married for at least ten years prior to your divorce becoming final, you may be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits when you reach age 62, if you do not remarry or for survivor benefits if your former spouse dies. This will not affect your former spouse's benefits nor will it matter if he or she has remarried. Check with your local Social Security office for details and to compare this benefit to your own Social Security entitlement from your own employment.

Call us today if we can help with any of your post-divorce legal issues.