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Kentucky laws allow for spousal support, but it's not automatic; the court has to decide if it's appropriate on a case-by-case basis. To determine whether you are eligible for spousal support, the court will consider several factors, including:
All in all, the state’s approach mostly focuses on what's known as "rehabilitative" spousal support. The idea is to provide financial help only if one spouse truly needs it to maintain a basic standard of living. If you can support yourself without spousal support, then it becomes harder to convince the court that you should receive it.
In Kentucky, there's an approach to spousal support called a "lifestyle claim”. This is used when one spouse has always earned significantly less than the other, but has lived a certain lifestyle because of the higher-earning spouse.
The idea here is that, even if the lower-earning spouse could financially survive on their own, they may not be able to maintain the lifestyle they've become used to during their marriage. Of course, this argument can be effective for some, but it's in no way guaranteed to help you win a spousal support award.
Generally speaking, these lifestyle claims are strongest when minor children are involved and there's a clear intention from both parents to maintain a specific way of living for them. For example, if one parent wouldn’t be able to afford the lifestyle that the children have been enjoying, the court might be more inclined to award spousal support for the children's sake.
The court will look at three major factors to decide how much spousal support will be awarded and for how long spousal support orders should stay in place…
If you've been a stay-at-home parent but you had a career beforehand, the court could grant temporary spousal support to help you along while you look for a job and get back on your feet.
In situations like these, the duration of support is calculated based on the length of your marriage or the length of time you spent out of the workforce as a stay-at-home parent.
Your age is another factor that comes into play. If you're younger, the court may expect you to go back to work and start building a career, reducing the likelihood of long-term support.
On the other hand, if you've been married for 30+ years and have mostly been a stay-at-home parent, the court may consider granting you long-term or even permanent spousal support. This is especially true if you've never had your own income.
In summary, spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis, considering a mix of factors. For this reason, having an attorney is invaluable, as they will be able to guide you through what the judge will be looking for and how best to present your case. For more information on Spousal Support In A Kentucky Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step.