Detailing Kentucky’s Alimony Laws

On behalf of The Berger Firm Dec. 7, 2018

Many of those who choose to seek a divorce from their spouse’s in Covington may immediately assume that they are entitled to alimony payments (also referred to as “spousal maintenance”). This likely comes from the notion that many may subscribe that alimony is akin to a punitive action leveled against the spouse who makes the most money. Yet those expecting alimony as part of their divorce settlement may ultimately end up disappointed. That is because spousal maintenance is typically only awarded after a careful review of one’s case by the court.

The purpose of alimony is to temporarily support a spouse whose earning capacity will not allow them to sustain the same standard of living that they currently enjoy once their divorce becomes finalized. Indeed, Section 403.200 of Kentucky’s Revised Statutes says that two elements must be proven before the court can consider awarding alimony: that the spouse seeking alimony be shown to have insufficient resources (including whatever marital property allocated to them) to support themselves, and that their capacity for employment or their responsibilities as custodian of their children make it unreasonable to assume that they will immediately be able to secure gainful employment.

Even in the event that one is awarded alimony, such assistance is typically only meant to be temporary. Kentucky law allows for three forms of spousal maintenance:

  • Permanent maintenance

  • Temporary maintenance

  • Rehabilitative maintenance

Temporary and rehabilitative maintenance agreements typically have fixed end dates, meaning that whoever is receiving such benefits is expected to be to the point of supporting themselves by the time those dates are reached. Even permanent alimony may not be indefinite. It states in Section 403.250 of Kentucky’s Constitution that such payments will end if the one receiving them remarries.