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Will the length of my marriage affect my possible alimony award?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2021 | divorce

If your marriage is coming to an end, you probably have a lot of concerns and questions on your mind. For example, if your earning capacity is significantly lower than your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s, then you might be wondering if you will be able to get spousal support to help you until you can get back on your feet. You also might be wondering which factors the court uses to determine how much you can get in alimony, and for how long.

The length of your marriages matters for alimony purposes

The court will most likely not grant you permanent alimony for the rest of your life. That rarely happens, and only under very particular circumstances – such as for a couple who has been married for more than ten years, and where one spouse has a medical condition that renders them unable to work.

It is much more likely that the amount the court will grant you in alimony – and how long the court will require your ex-spouse to send those alimony payments – will be limited. The method the court uses to determine this number is based on a number of factors, such as your earning capacity versus that of your ex-spouse, the distribution of assets and the length of your marriage.

Each judge calculates the length of alimony payments differently

Kentucky courts do not use a set formula to calculate the number of years that an ex-spouse will be required to pay alimony. Instead, each judge has the discretion to determine how long the payments should continue, after they take into account the factors mentioned above.

Some judges use the guiding principle that alimony payments should continue for one year for every three years of marriage. Even if the judge deciding your case doesn’t follow this principle, they will most certainly take into account how long you were married. Generally, the longer a couple was married, the longer the lower-income spouse will be able to collect alimony – unless there are other factors that would make such an alimony award unjust.

If you are considering divorce and trying to figure out how you will be able to support yourself afterward, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced divorce attorney. They will be able to sit down with you and explain how Kentucky’s divorce statutes apply to you in your particular situation.