When you file for divorce in Kentucky, you can also ask the court for maintenance, known as spousal support or alimony in other states. Maintenance may be awarded both during the divorce process and after the final divorce decree is issued. You will only be entitled to maintenance if you are unable to meet your reasonable needs or support yourself. The amount and duration of the maintenance award is at the court's discretion.
In a divorce action, either spouse may request and receive maintenance, regardless of gender. But before the court establishes a maintenance order, it must first determine if you qualify. Under Kentucky law, to qualify for maintenance, you must show that you lack sufficient assets to provide for your reasonable needs. This means you are either unable to support yourself through adequate employment or you cannot work outside the home because you are caring for a child whose condition or circumstances make it inappropriate to do so. Since the court considers the amount of marital property awarded to you when making its decision, your eligibility for maintenance will be determined after the property distribution stage of the divorce process.
Amount and Duration
Once the court determines you are entitled to maintenance, it will decide how much you should receive and for how long. To reach a fair outcome, the court evaluates several factors that are set out in state law. These include the standard of living established during the marriage; the length of the marriage; your age and emotional and physical health; the ability of your spouse to pay maintenance while meeting his own needs; your financial resources, including any property and child support awards received; your ability to independently meet your needs; and the time necessary to attain the education or training needed to obtain sufficient employment.
Types of Maintenance
Divorce courts in Kentucky have the option of awarding both temporary and permanent maintenance. Temporary maintenance is available during the divorce proceedings and is meant to help the recipient make ends meet during this time of transition and uncertainty. Temporary maintenance terminates once your divorce decree is issued and a permanent order is established. Permanent maintenance, also known as long-term maintenance, is awarded post-divorce. It does not necessarily mean you'll receive payments forever; the duration of any order is determined by the court after evaluating all relevant factors. To request temporary maintenance, submit a motion to the court, either with your petition for divorce or shortly after filing. For permanent maintenance, you simply make your request in the appropriate section of the divorce petition.
Fault, Modification and Termination
Although Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state, meaning neither spouse is permitted to cast blame on the other to obtain a divorce, state law allows the courts to take a spouse's misconduct under consideration when establishing a maintenance order. In other words, your misconduct, such as adultery, will not bar you from receiving maintenance, but it may affect the amount and duration of the maintenance you are awarded. After a maintenance order is in place, it may be later modified if circumstances substantially change, making the terms unfair. Maintenance orders may be terminated altogether if either party dies or remarries, unless a written agreement or the divorce decree provides otherwise.