Spousal maintenance – also known as spousal support or alimony – can be a very contentious issue during a Kentucky divorce. Spouses who have lower earning potential often seek alimony as a way to maintain their standard of living or simply establish themselves independently during and after the divorce. Fear of reduced living standards and what that might mean for custody if the couple shares children can often contribute to someone’s request for maintenance.
The spouse paying maintenance is likely to have strong negative feelings about that obligation, especially if they were not the one to file for divorce. They will have to make regular payments while their spouse begins building an independent life. Spousal support can also serve as a “trade off” for other assets as a couple seeks to divide the overall value of their marital estate.
Whether or not maintenance is necessary or advisable can be a point of contention for some couples, while others may argue about how much maintenance one spouse requires or should receive. The duration of the payments can also lead to disagreements. These are the three main points at which maintenance payments usually cease.
After a set amount of time
In the majority of cases involving maintenance, the order will be a temporary one. The courts usually only order rehabilitative maintenance that can help someone cover their expenses when they go back to school or start looking for a job. Such payments often only last for a few years, although longer marriages may lead to longer maintenance orders. Many maintenance orders only end once the set number of months or years have passed.
If the spouse receiving maintenance starts a new relationship, that may eventually absolve their former spouse of the requirement to pay maintenance. The party paying can file a request with the courts to terminate maintenance when the recipient remarries and has someone else to provide them with financial support.
After the death of the recipient
The other common reason why maintenance payments might end is that the person receiving the payments dies. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes those who theoretically have many healthy years ahead of them get into car crashes or have sudden medical events.
Occasionally, those who pay maintenance can end their payments early due to unusual circumstances, and they may also be able to request a modification when their financial circumstances change. Learning more about the rules that apply to maintenance payments may help those preparing for a Kentucky divorce cultivate a better understanding of what their financial circumstances will be like in the near future.