Will I Receive (or Have to Pay) Maintenance?

One of the biggest unknowns in a Kentucky divorce is often whether there will be an award of spousal maintenance (or sometimes called alimony).  There are several reasons for this uncertainty.  Unlike some states, Kentucky has never adopted a formula for the calculation of maintenance.  Instead, Kentucky statute sets out some guidelines and then leaves the issue of maintenance up to the trial judge.  Depending on which judge you happen to be in front of, your results could be very different.

The court is given very broad discretion in making this determination.  In my experience, the primary considerations the court evaluates is the length of the marriage, the income disparity of the parties and the net disposable income of the party who will have to pay the maintenance.  The length of the marriage is a major consideration because it goes to how much the one spouse became reliant and dependent upon the other.  The court considers the net income, as opposed to the gross income in calculating child support, to determine whether there will be any money available with which to pay maintenance.

Maintenance is a unique issue in Kentucky.  Despite Kentucky being a no fault divorce state, maintenance is the one area of divorce law where fault can be considered in order to defeat a claim of maintenance.  This means, for example, that if the person seeking maintenance has had an affair that lead to the breakdown of the marriage, that fact can be used to reduce or prevent a maintenance award.

Maintenance along with child custody are the primary issues that will push a case to a final hearing rather than settlement.  Therefore, it is imperative that you inform the family law attorney you hire of any possible issues or grounds of fault against the other party or committed by you.  Failure to do that could severely damage your case.  If you have more questions, please contact us at the Alford Law Office.

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