Area of Law:
In the event of a divorce, if either spouse does not have a separate estate, or if a spouse's assets are not sufficient to offer a means of support, a judge might order alimony, which is also known as spousal support or maintenance in Kentucky. Alimony is usually a monthly financial allowance paid by one spouse to another. The purpose of alimony is to offset any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to the non-wage earning or lower-wage earning spouse.
To be eligible for alimony, spouses in all states, including Kentucky, must have been legally married. Alimony is usually based on a settlement agreement made between the spouses or the discretion of a judge. For a full explanation of divorce and alimony laws in Kentucky, go to lawyers.com.
There are three types of alimony that are commonly awarded in Kentucky: temporary, which may be awarded during the proceedings and before the divorce is made final; short-term, which may be awarded for a limited time to allow the recipient spouse to receive education and/or training to enhance his or her employability; and long-term or permanent, which a court will sometimes award in the case of a lengthy marriage.
Kentucky courts will award alimony if the recipient spouse does not have the sufficient property to meet his or her own needs, or if he or she is the custodian of a child whose needs make it difficult or impossible to seek employment.
According to Kentucky alimony guidelines, the type and amount of alimony awarded in the state depends on a variety of factors, including the following:
- Financial resources of the spouse seeking alimony
- Time necessary to acquire education or training to enable the spouse to find employment
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and condition of the spouse seeking alimony
- Ability of the spouse from whom alimony is sought to meet personal needs while paying alimony
In Kentucky, support is generally granted for a specific amount of time. This length of time depends on factors. such as the parties’ needs, the duration of the marriage, and whether any dependent children require one spouse to stay at home. Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state, and marital fault is not considered in alimony awards.
In the United States, alimony is treated differently tax wise from child support payment. In Kentucky, alimony is deductible for the person who pays it and taxable income for the person who receives it under the rules of the Internal Revenue Service, while child support is not. This can make alimony a tax advantage for the person who pays it and has prompted the federal government to create “hurdle tests” to differentiate between alimony, child support, and property settlement.
In the past, most alimony awards were made to homemakers who needed the support from their former husbands. But because current marriages often consist of two wage earners, and more men are assuming child-rearing duties, alimony awards have changed. It is no longer unusual for an ex-wife to be compelled to make alimony payments to her ex-husband. Divorcesource.com offers a comprehensive summary of divorce laws in Kentucky.