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Who is entitled to alimony, and for how long?

Spousal support is the term that is used for a court-ordered maintenance paid by one spouse to the other pending or after a divorce, or during a legal separation. The recipient of alimony can be either the husband or the wife. The purpose is to contribute toward the living expenses of the receiving spouse, such as utilities, mortgage or rent, health insurance and other costs. Absent an agreement between the spouses, the court will determine the type of alimony, the amount and the duration as governed by the divorce laws of Kentucky.

Alimony can be permanent or temporary. Factors that the court will consider include the length of the marriage, the age of the spouses and their respective incomes. If the court awards permanent alimony, it typically ceases on the death of either party, remarriage or cohabitation in a romantic relationship of the receiving spouse. Temporary spousal support is more often granted after shorter marriages, and it is usually awarded for no longer than five years to allow one spouse to get re-established financially following a divorce.

A third option that the court may choose to award is rehabilitative alimony. This serves the purpose of funding education or training to sharpen previous skills or learn new ones that will provide an income. The duration will likely be three years, and continuation may depend on the recipient's enrollment in a degree program. Alimony can be awarded as a single lump sum payment if the parties agree or the court deems it necessary to ensure equal division of marital property by adding such an amount to support one spouse.

Alimony is not automatically awarded, but a well-documented argument for the need of spousal support will typically receive a Kentucky court's careful consideration. Answers to any questions about alimony can be obtained from an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer may also provide valuable guidance and support throughout any family law proceedings.