Alimony Attorney in Louisville, Kentucky
When a couple gets a divorce, one thing that may be part of their divorce settlement is an order for spousal support or alimony, referred to as maintenance under Kentucky code. While maintenance is not a part of all divorce settlements, it is common, and may be relevant to your case if one party to the marriage is unable to provide for and support themselves financially. If you are seeking divorce and have questions about alimony, working with a skilled maintenance attorney is highly recommended. To schedule an appointment with the divorce lawyers at the law office of John H. Ruby & Associates, please call us directly today.
What Is Spousal Maintenance?
Maintenance is a court order that requires one spouse to issue payment to the other spouse. Maintenance may be ordered during the divorce (temporary support order) in order to help the dependent spouse transition into a more independent lifestyle, or may be part of the final divorce settlement (final support order). In addition to being temporary or final, a spousal maintenance order that is issued at the end of a divorce proceeding can also be short- or long-term, depending upon the circumstances of each of the spouses involved.
Spousal maintenance is ordered by a court when one spouse is financially dependent upon another. The following are factors a court considers in determining whether to award spousal maintenance, and if so, for how long.
Factors the Court Considers in Awarding Spousal Maintenance
As found in Section 403.200 of Kentucky Code, a court will grant an order for maintenance when it finds that:
- One party lack sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs; and
- The party in also unable to support themselves through employment (often times because they are the custodial parent of a shared child, and staying home with the child is more appropriate).
If both criteria are satisfied, then the court will determine both the amount of maintenance and the length of time for which the maintenance award should last based on the following factors:
- The ability of the spouse who will pay maintenance to meet both their own needs and the financial needs of the other spouse;
- The age and physical condition of the maintenance-seeking spouse;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The amount of time it would take for the maintenance-seeking spouse to acquire education or training necessary for employment and income;
- The standard of living established during the marriage; and
- The financial resources of both parties.
When Does a Maintenance Order Terminate?
A maintenance order will terminate upon the date set by the court (which is determined using the factors above). If the award is permanent and meant to continue through the spouses’ life, then a maintenance award will terminate upon either spouse’s death, or if the maintenance-receiving spouse remarries. It is more common for a maintenance order to be permanent when the couple has been married for many years (more than 20) and the maintenance-seeking spouse is of an age where seeking employment to provide for oneself is unrealistic.
Modifying a Spousal Maintenance Award
The court does allow for a spousal maintenance award to be modified in some situations, although the standard for modification is high. Indeed, as found in Section 403.250 of Kentucky Code, the provisions of a maintenance order may only be modified upon “showing a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms [of an existing award] unconscionable.” This means that a slight change in circumstances may not warrant a modification, but a major change–such as a severe financial event (like a loss of all one’s assets), an accident that renders a party disabled and unable to continue working, etc. might. If you want to modify an existing spousal maintenance award, working with an experienced attorney is highly recommended.
Does Marital Misconduct Affect Spousal Maintenance?
Many parties wonder whether marital misconduct, such as an act of adultery, will influence the amount of spousal maintenance that they can receive or are ordered to pay. While the court cannot consider marital misconduct in determining whether awarding spousal maintenance is appropriate, and while misconduct is not listed by Kentucky statute as a factor that a court should consider in determining how much maintenance to award, there is court precedent for a court weighing marital misconduct. Again, misconduct cannot be considered in determining whether or not an award is appropriate in the first place but may be considered in making a decision regarding how much alimony to award. If you think that marital misconduct should be considered, you should discuss your feelings with your attorney, who can provide you with more specific and knowledgeable advice.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Secure a Fair Spousal Maintenance Award
If you are getting divorced, there is a lot on your plate. Indeed, you may already be tasked with worrying about the outcome of a property division settlement or child custody arrangement; thinking about spousal maintenance moreover can be overwhelming.
At the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates, our attorneys understand that whether you are the maintenance-seeking spouse or the spouse who may be ordered to pay maintenance, a judge’s decision regarding alimony can have a huge effect on your future. We will work with you to help secure a fair spousal maintenance decision, advocating for you every step of the way.
If you are ready to act and protect your best interests, please call our Kentucky divorce attorneys today – we can guide you through all aspects of your divorce. You can reach us at 502-895-2626 today, or send us a brief message requesting more information using the intake form on our website. We will reply to your inquiry as soon as possible.