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What alimony is for, and who may qualify for it

Though both spouses work in most married households in Kentucky, the spouses may earn significantly different incomes. If the couple splits up, the higher-earning spouse may be able to live comfortably on his or her salary alone. But the lesser-earning spouse may be unable to pay for basic necessities.

Then there are spouses who maintain the home and raise the children full-time. It could take months or years until someone in this situation is able to join the workforce and support themselves financially.

To avoid allowing a former spouse becoming impoverished by divorce, Kentucky law allows for spousal support in some cases. Also known as spousal maintenance and, most popularly, as alimony, spousal support is the payment of money from one ex to another, outside of property settlement.

Most of the time, the court will order temporary maintenance that lasts as long as the judge determines the ex will need to get on his or her own feet financially. In some cases, the spouse receives permanent alimony.

The law lays out several factors for the judge to consider when determining whether to award alimony. These include:

  • The spouses’ current respective incomes, and their potential future earning power.
  • How long the spouses were married.
  • The spouses’ age and health.
  • The spouses’ current expenses, and projected future expenses.

Alimony is often a point of contention between divorcing spouses. The spouse asking for it may say he or she relied on the other spouse’s income, and must still partly rely on it. Meanwhile, the other spouse may say that the spouse asking for alimony is perfectly able to pay their own bills.

For both sides, the key to getting through divorce with a fair settlement or court ruling is to have an experienced divorce lawyer.

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