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  • Monday, December 18, 2017


    At the time of dissolution, Husband had an active law practice in which he had executed contingent-fee contracts with some clients. The trial court treated the contingent-fee contracts as a component of Husband’s income when received and not as property. The Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court accepted discretionary review.

    The Supreme Court first looks to KRS 403.190(2) which defines marital property as "all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage." The Supreme Court notes that none of the exceptions to marital property apply in this case. The Court then defines a contingent-fee contract as “a fee agreement under which the attorney will not be paid unless the client is successful.” Thus, the Court holds that a contingent-fee contract is a “chose in action” which is “undeniably a...

  • Sunday, December 10, 2017


    Father filed a DVO action against step-father on behalf of his minor children. Father was the only witness and testified as to statements made to him by his then six-year-old child. The court also considered a police report and district court domestic violence charges. The trial court issued the DVO and stepfather appealed. The Court of Appeals remanded the case for a hearing holding that the trial court failed to conduct a hearing as required by KRS 403.730 and improperly considered hearsay and extraneous evidence.

    Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell


  • Monday, November 13, 2017


    The Court of Appeals previously ruled in this case (Priest v. Priest, No. 2014-CA-000148-MR) holding Wife’s share of Husband’s military retirement “should be calculated based upon the DFSA, Section IV(c) as outlined in Poe v. Poe. 711 S.W.2d 849, 850 (Ky. App. 1986). The family court divided the military retirement benefit utilizing the hypothetical award formula set out in DFSA IV(c) pursuant to Poe. Wife again appealed arguing the family court incorrectly applied the DFSA formula.

    The Court of Appeals only finds one error in the family court’s calculation, the cost of living adjustment, and reverses the family court “on this one calculation” and remands “for a correction to the court’s final award.” Interestingly, the Court of Appeals implores the Supreme Court to revisit the law as to military retirement stating “Given the final result of the current law upon the division of the...

  • Monday, November 6, 2017


    Parties entered into a marital settlement agreement requiring husband to make payments for maintenance and child support. Instead, husband paid wife’s mortgage which was in excess of his child support and maintenance obligations. Wife objected but did not request a hearing on the issue for two years, which was more than a year after payments stopped. The family court, applying the doctrine of latches, found that Wife had “failed to consistently pursue her claim” and therefore no arrearages were due.

    The Court of Appeals affirms the family court holding that the family court properly applied the doctrine of latches. The court notes that the doctrine of estoppel by acquiescence which “is applied to transactions in which it would be unconscionable to permit a person to maintain a position which is inconsistent with one in which he has previously acquiesced” is a better fit for this fact...

  • Monday, October 30, 2017


    The court scheduled a two day trial on a dissolution action including custody issues, parenting issues, and division of assets. Wife fired her initial counsel and had difficulty finding alternate counsel given her financial position. Wife ultimately obtained counsel who had a conflict with the scheduled trial date. Wife’s several motions for a continuance were denied and ultimately her new counsel withdrew leaving Wife without an attorney for trial. After trial, Wife filed an appeal arguing she should have been granted a continuance.

    The Court of Appeals held that “the family court abused its discretion when it denied [Wife’s] motion for a continuance of the trial without considering any other factor than that it would delay the trial.” The family court should have considered the Snodgrass factors: “1) length of delay; 2) previous continuances; 3) inconveniences to litigants, witnesses,...

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