A History Of Growing Trust In Kentucky

How Kentucky law decides if a divorcing person should get alimony

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | divorce

For most married couples in Louisville, it’s normal for both spouses to work. Whether to help support the family, pursue a career they are passionate about, or both, working is the norm for most adults, married or otherwise. But this is not true for everyone.

Some couples have a more traditional system where one spouse is the primary or sole breadwinner. Typically, the other spouse focuses on taking care of the children, maintaining the home and otherwise supporting the income-earning spouse. The homemaker spouse might do some work outside the home, but often that income would not be nearly enough on its own to provide them with a lifestyle similar to what they enjoy thanks to the breadwinner.

Therefore, if the couple gets divorced, the nonworking spouse would suddenly be left with no household income. They might not have worked or gone to school in decades and would struggle to find a job that pays enough for them to live independently. They may need time to get the training and job experience they need to be able to support themselves.

Who qualifies for alimony?

This is what alimony is supposed to be for. But not every divorcing person who asks for alimony is entitled to it. Kentucky law uses a two-part test to determine if someone is eligible:

  • Does the spouse requesting alimony lack enough property (including the share of the marital property they will receive in the property division settlement) to meet their reasonable needs?
  • Can they support themselves through employment, or do they have custody of a child whose condition or circumstance (such as a major disability) makes it appropriate that the parent not be required to work?

A party that meets both these requirements can request alimony. The question then becomes, how much are they entitled to, and for how long?

How divorce judges calculate alimony

The amount and duration of alimony depend on the spouses’ particular circumstances. The law directs family court judges to consider several factors, such as:

  • The requesting spouse’s age and health.
  • Their financial resources, such as child support, and ability to meet their own needs independently.
  • The other spouse’s ability to meet their own needs while also paying alimony.
  • How long the couple was married.
  • How long it would take the requesting spouse to get enough education or training to get appropriate employment.
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage.

Usually, courts order post-divorce alimony for a set amount of years that the judge believes gives the recipient reasonable time to become self-sufficient. But the law does allow permanent alimony for cases where the recipient will never be able to work due to factors like their age or health.

If alimony is a factor in your divorce, you will need to know where you stand and what your options are for the best financial future possible. Your divorce attorney can advise you on alimony and related matters.