Family Law Lawyer
Florence, Boone County, KY | Covington, Kenton County, KY
You do not have to go to court alone. Let me help you. I am a fighter!
Maintain Your Financial Independence
1. Have some money set aside that only you can access, so the other party cannot close your accounts and leave you financially helpless.
2. You may want to change passwords, beneficiaries, joint accounts, etc.
3. Any Power of Attorney should be terminated.
Copy All Financial Records
If you are married and there are any assets and debts, then keep a copy of every financial record that you can find in a safe place. Even if it is an old account, it may be helpful to show that money was once in the account and make your spouse show where the money went.
Collect Child Support Documentation
1. Each parent's income and last 3 pay stubs
2. Last year's federal tax return with all schedules, worksheets, W-2s, 1099s, etc.
3. The amount of child support for any prior-born child that has been court-ordered and is actually being paid
4. The amount of alimony (maintenance) that has been court-ordered and is actually being paid
5. The cost of daycare
6. A breakdown of the cost of health insurance
On your pay stub, you will only find the combined amount you pay for all individuals. I need to know the extra cost to insure the children of the parties. Ask your employer or health insurance plan for a chart that breaks down the cost between medical, dental and vision plans for:
- single employee
- employee + spouse
- employee + child(ren)
- family plan
Keep a Calendar and Your Receipts
Document each parent's contact with the children. Your memory will never be as fresh as recording something when it happens. Keep your receipts if it may be important to you later to show who paid what.
Record Calls, Conversations and Save Text Messages
1. In Kentucky you can listen to and record any conversation if at least one party to the conversation consents. For example, you can always consent to record your own conversations, even without anyone else's knowledge or consent. If you are not a party to the conversation, then simply ask the permission of someone who is a party to the conversation, who can give you their consent (or who can do the recording for you). Laws of other states should be considered if the other person on the phone is in another state.
2. If you cannot print your text messages from your phone, then you should take a photo of your phone while it displays the message. Do not let the loss of your phone be the loss of your evidence. Keep a copy in a safe place so you have it for court.
Take Pictures and Create a Medical Record
1. Take pictures of any visible injuries to you or a family member before they fade.
2. Take yourself or a family member to a doctor to document any injuries. Make sure they write down how the injuries may have occurred and when the injuries were likely to have occurred. For example, maybe the doctor can tell that a child's injuries are X hours old, and that was during the other parent's visitation. If the doctor or nurse tells you something important, but does not write it in your chart, then they will not remember it weeks or months later, and they may as well have never said it. You need to make sure they write everything down. Your doctor may report suspected child abuse to the authorities.
Should you move out?
Your spouse's lawyer could argue that you abandoned the marital home. The more important question is whether you abandoned any minor children. Domestic violence or other reasons may make it necessary to move out. You can ask the court to make the other spouse move out. You should contact a lawyer and discuss your situation before taking a major step like moving out.
Report Domestic Violence
1. You can call the police or go to the courthouse to file for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) for yourself, your child or a family member. The court may enter an EPO without a hearing. Whether or not you get an EPO, there will be a hearing within 10 days. At the hearing, the court may enter a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) to replace any EPO for protection up to 3 years (which is renewable before it expires for additional 3 year periods).
2. If you are not the person with legal custody of a child by court order, then the court may grant an Emergency Custody Order (ECO).
3. The Women's Crisis Center is available to women who are victims of domestic violence. There is no center for men.
24-Hour Crisis Lines:
Northern Kentucky: 859-491-3335 or 800-928-3335
Maysville: 606-564-6708 or 800-928-6708
P.O. Box 610, Old Courthouse Building
440 Main Street, 3rd. Floor
Carrollton, KY 41008
835 Madison Avenue
Covington, KY 41011
Grant County Career Center
2020 Taft Highway
Dry Ridge, KY 41035
3580 Hargrave Drive
Hebron, KY 41048
111 East Third Street
Maysville, KY 41056
283 Kentucky 59
Vanceburg, KY 41179
4. If you report the incident to the police, the other person may be charged with Assault in the Fourth Degree—Domestic Violence—Minor Injury or face other charges. This would be a criminal case with jail time or fines possible (which is different than a civil case for an EPO, DVO or ECO, which restricts the perpetrator's contact with the victim).