Across the country, alimony laws have changed to become gender-neutral and reflect more contemporary households. However, the core purpose of alimony remains the same: to ensure that both spouses can support themselves after a divorce.
When assessing alimony, courts consider certain factors, and a Florence spousal support lawyer could explain what they are and how judges apply them. Our seasoned family attorneys could then work toward a fair alimony solution that provides you the financial security you need.
Why and When is Alimony Awarded?
When a couple decides to separate, a judge may require the higher-earning partner to pay spousal support – also referred to as maintenance or alimony – to their former spouse. Alimony could be awarded temporarily during the parties’ separation to enable a spouse to meet their financial obligations while the divorce case is pending. A judge may also grant alimony or post-dissolution maintenance when they issue a final divorce decree.
Spousal support aims to enable the lesser-earning party to achieve economic stability and maintain a lifestyle similar to what the parties enjoyed during their marriage. How much alimony a spouse needs, and for what period, depends on certain statutory factors.
Different Types of Spousal Support Awards
The state’s alimony laws do not favor long-term spousal support. Generally, both parties are expected to make reasonable efforts to become or remain self-supporting after a divorce. If one party is mentally or physically disabled, or has left the workforce to stay home with their children, they may be more likely to receive more alimony and for a longer duration. Additionally, for a judge to consider “permanent” maintenance, the spouses must have been married for at least ten years.
Even when permanent alimony is ordered, it does not last forever. Judges in Florence are authorized to modify or terminate it later if the facts of the case warrant it. Also, under Kentucky Revised Statutes § 403.250, spousal support generally ends when the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
Courts more commonly award rehabilitative maintenance. This type of support is often limited to five years, although some courts may award alimony for a period equal to one-half of the marriage’s length. A person seeking support is well-advised to consult a Florence spousal support lawyer to determine what type of alimony they may be entitled to receive.
Alimony Determinations in Florence Family Courts
To determine someone’s eligibility for spousal support, a judge may consider certain factors under Kentucky Revised Statutes § 403.200. Some of these include:
- Each spouse’s financial needs and resources
- The requesting spouse’s ability to become self-supporting
- The time needed for a spouse to receive education or training enabling them to find suitable employment
- The parties’ standard of living during the marriage
- The marriage length
- Each party’s age and health
The court’s overall assessment of these factors will dictate the type, amount, and duration of alimony. Because an award of maintenance can substantially impact both the paying and the receiving spouse, any party in a divorce case involving alimony should consult a knowledgeable spousal support attorney in the Florence area.
Modifying Alimony Awards When Circumstances Change
Although spousal maintenance can be adjusted in some instances, doing so can be challenging. A judge may only change a spousal support order if the person requesting the modification proves there has been a substantial change in circumstances rendering the existing alimony award unconscionable. While this can be a difficult legal standard, there are situations in which a modification is warranted. For example, if the payor spouse loses their job through no fault of their own, a judge may reduce their alimony obligation. A payee spouse’s remarriage may also be grounds for a support adjustment.
Alimony awards do not automatically change when a party’s circumstances do. The party seeking to modify the amount or duration of support must file a pleading with the court and include their income, assets, debts, and employment information. A lawyer could assist with the filing and present the case to a judge if the parties cannot resolve the matter.
Contact a Florence Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal maintenance can be difficult to resolve when one party feels they owe more than the other is willing to pay. A Florence spousal support lawyer is committed to helping you through this challenging process. Reach out to one of our firm’s compassionate attorneys today to discuss your case.