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A Brief Guide To Spousal Support In Kentucky

Alimony or spousal support is known as “maintenance” in Kentucky divorce court. It is not automatically granted in every divorce, and the law does not give a preference to the man or the woman when deciding issues of support. Either the husband or the wife may ask for an order of spousal support.

If you cannot reach agreement, a judge will decide whether to award maintenance, for how much and for how long, based on the evidence and arguments given to the court by the parties and their attorneys.

The divorce representation provided by Aldridge & Birdwhistell Law Firm, PSC includes practical advice and effective representation when trying to get or challenge an award of maintenance. We can help with initial maintenance awards or modification requests, if circumstances have changed.

Spousal Support And Maintenance Under Kentucky Law

There are two main types of maintenance that can be granted in a Kentucky divorce – rehabilitative or permanent.

  • Rehabilitative maintenance – This type of support is usually awarded to give a nonworking spouse time to get the education, training, employment or job experience necessary to become self-supporting. Rehabilitative maintenance is generally granted for a duration equal to half of the length of the marriage, up to a total of five years.
  • Permanent maintenance – If the marriage lasted 10 years or more, the judge may grant maintenance on a permanent basis. This may be done where one of the divorcing spouses has no independent income or where the difference in incomes between the two spouses is substantial. Also, if one of the former spouses is disabled or otherwise prevented from working, a permanent maintenance award may be appropriate.

There is also a third type – temporary maintenance – that may be granted while the divorce is pending to help a nonworking spouse who is living apart to support oneself during the divorce proceeding. This type of temporary maintenance ends when the divorce is finalized. It may then be replaced by an award of rehabilitative or permanent maintenance, if the judge is convinced such an award is warranted.

What Factors Does A Judge Consider?

In deciding whether to grant spousal support, and if so, which kind, for how much and for how long, the judge looks at a number of different factors such as the following:

  • The age and health of the spouses
  • The length of the marriage
  • The outcome of the property division
  • Each spouse’s income
  • If one spouse cannot work because he or she is taking care of the kids
  • The financial needs of the receiving spouse
  • The ability to pay of the paying spouse
  • The length of time support is needed

Modification And Termination Of Spousal Support

After a maintenance award is made, circumstances may change the needs of the receiving spouse or the ability of the paying spouse to continue making payments. In such a case, a party may be able to go back to court and ask for a modification of the support order. Whether a maintenance award can be modified or not depends on whether it was ordered as a lump sum or not, and whether the judge is convinced of the need for a change.

Support orders can also be terminated early if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Ensuring Fair Maintenance Awards

Schedule an appointment by sending us an email or by calling us at 270-872-0912 in Elizabethtown or 502-907-2899 in Louisville. Our lawyers will fight to get a fair maintenance award that protects your financial future. We have offices conveniently located in both Elizabethtown and Louisville.