The length of time that divorced spouses in Kentucky are required to pay alimony to their former husbands or wives depends on many factors. If the marriage was a short one or both of the spouses earn a comfortable living, alimony may not have to be paid at all. However, if one spouse sacrificed a career to raise children and divorced after decades of marriage, a family law judge could order permanent alimony.
Alimony is awarded to spouses who lack the means to support themselves and provide for their reasonable needs. Judges determine how much support should be paid based on the income of the spouse who will be making the payments, the standard of living the couple enjoyed while they were together and the length of the marriage. While Kentucky has a no-fault divorce law, judges may reduce alimony awards when the spouse who will be receiving support was unfaithful or abusive. Most of the time, judges in Kentucky award a kind of alimony called rehabilitative maintenance. These are temporary payments that help divorced spouses to make ends meet while they look for a job or receive vocational training.
Permanent alimony is awarded rarely in Kentucky. A divorced spouse may receive alimony permanently if they were married for a long time and earn far less money than their former husband or wife. Judges may also order permanent alimony when the spouse who will be receiving support is disabled or has a medical condition that prevents them from working. Both rehabilitative and permanent maintenance ends if the spouse receiving support remarries. When either spouse experiences a substantial change in their financial situation, they can petition the court to raise or lower alimony payments.
Avoiding alimony disputes
Disputes over spousal support can become extremely contentious. Experienced family law attorneys may encourage divorcing spouses to work diligently toward an amicable agreement to avoid long and costly court battles. When talks are unsuccessful, attorneys could suggest an alternative venue like mediation. Attorneys may also suggest taking a more proactive approach by drafting a prenuptial agreement that includes a spousal support provision.