“Do I have to pay alimony?” We get this common question from a number of clients who are concerned about the consequences of their divorce. Unfortunately the answer is rarely straightforward, as the circumstances of your divorce will influence your judge’s ultimate decision. Additionally, there are five different types of spousal maintenance (the legal term for alimony in Kentucky law), and you may be required to pay more than one if circumstances dictate. To understand this process better, let’s look at the different types of maintenance a little closer.
Also known as “pendente lite,” this is the first type of maintenance you may be required to pay. A spouse can request maintenance during the divorce process if they are struggling to maintain their quality of life after the separation. If the court deems it fit, they could order one spouse to pay this short-term maintenance. This type of maintenance is exactly as its name describes: temporary, ending when the divorce becomes finalized, or sooner if your judge sees it fit to do so. Furthermore, temporary maintenance has no bearing on a final maintenance order. Just because you paid temporary maintenance doesn’t mean you will be required to pay maintenance in your final agreement, and vice versa.
Closed-ended maintenance is unique in that it cannot be modified by the court at a later date, and usually exists in the form of a set amount or even a single lump-sum payment. The amount and length of time it takes to pay this sum is set in the initial divorce agreement, and while the decision can be appealed, it cannot be modified.
Open-ended maintenance can be modified by the court either in the event of a change in circumstance or the initial award no longer becomes fair. More often than not, “permanent” maintenance orders are also considered open-ended so they can be modified later down the road in the event life circumstances change (more on those below).
Just like its name says, permanent maintenance awards have no end date and involve payments from one spouse to the other for life. However, if you’re scared of having to fork over part of your income to your ex for the rest of your life, rest assured these awards are somewhat rare in modern family law, especially if your marriage lasted less than 10 years. Again, these are exceptionally rare as most divorce agreements will include termination clauses for things such as the receiving spouse re-marrying.
This type of maintenance is usually defined for a set amount or with a set end date to allow one spouse to re-enter the workforce or obtain education and training necessary to improve their employment opportunities. This type of maintenance is granted with the assumption that the receiving spouse will work to eventually become self-sustaining. These are usually very short-term awards, lasting usually about five years maximum.
Do you need more information regarding spousal maintenance in Kentucky? The Louisville divorce attorneys at Louis P. Winner can help. We offer experienced and aggressive counsel to help those facing a family law matter seek a positive and beneficial outcome to their case. We know the gravity of the situation you are facing, and we work hard to keep your goals and best interests at the forefront of our decisions and strategy to make you completely satisfied with your conclusion.
Considering a divorce? Call Louis P. Winner today at (502) 812-1889 to schedule your initial consultation.