Kentucky Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “KY”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Kentucky is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the KY alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Bluegrass State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

Overview of Kentucky Alimony Laws

The goal of alimony in Kentucky is to prevent disparities and enable both spouses to maintain a similar standard of living following the divorce. In some cases, alimony is not granted. Only when both of the following statements are true would a judge grant alimony:

  • the recipient spouse does not have enough property, including marital property awarded in the divorce, to meet his or her own needs, and
  • the recipient spouse has yet to become self-sufficient through adequate employment or is the custodian of a child, rendering employment outside the house impossible.

Under the divorce laws of Kentucky, when one spouse gave up a career to fund the other spouse’s professional education degree, a court in Kentucky will usually grant alimony. A disabled spouse who is unable to support themselves after a divorce may be entitled to alimony.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in KY

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Kentucky

In Kentucky, judges can give three types of alimony – interim (pendente lite), short-term, or permanent maintenance. The divorce procedure might take up to a year or more, depending on your circumstances, during which time both couples must adjust to living on a single income.

Temporary Spousal Support in Kentucky

If you’ve been relying on your spouse to cover your basic living needs, you may require financial support while you wait for the divorce to be finalized. Temporary support orders are only valid throughout the divorce process and expire when the divorce is finalized or new support order is issued. (Ky. Revised Statute Announcement 403.160 (2018).)

Rehabilitative (Short Term) Spousal Support in KY

In Kentucky, the most prevalent type of alimony is a short-term support. Short-term maintenance is frequently referred to as “rehabilitative” maintenance because the goal is for the supported spouse to get an educational degree or specialized job training in order to find work.

Rehabilitative alimony is only accessible for as long as it takes the supported spouse to find a suitable job, and the judge will almost always request that spouse develop a plan outlining how long it will take to become financially self-supporting.

Permanent Spousal Support in Kentucky

Permanent alimony is less common, and it is normally reserved for spouses who are divorcing after a lengthy marriage. Although judges want both spouses to work and become self-sufficient following a divorce, there are several exceptions for spouses who are unable to work due to old age or disability and require continued financial support.

Permanent alimony isn’t always guaranteed to remain indefinitely, and the court normally retains the ability to amend or revoke it at any time. Alimony is usually terminated when one of the spouses dies or the supported spouse remarries. (Ky. Revised Statute Announcement 403.250 (2018).)

Kentucky is a No-Fault Divorce State

Kentucky is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that it makes no difference who caused the marriage to end—Kentucky divorce laws only recognize no-fault divorce grounds. The filing spouse just needs to say that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that the pair have been separated for 60 days.

Marital misconduct, or wrongdoing perpetrated by a guilty spouse against an innocent spouse, is referred to as “fault.” Adultery, abandonment, abuse, fraud, felony conviction, or chemical dependency are all examples.

A Kentucky judge will not recognize fault-based grounds for divorce because Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state. As a result, when considering whether or not to grant the divorce, the judge will not examine whether or not your marriage has been marred by adultery.

Consequences of Adultery in Kentucky Alimony

In KY, only when determining how much alimony to award can a judge consider infidelity. However, a judge cannot deny alimony to a guilty spouse just because that spouse committed adultery. Instead, in Kentucky courts, the sole effect of wrongdoing (such as adultery) on alimony is the amount given.

Who Pays Alimony in Kentucky?

In Kentucky alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Bluegrass State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Kentucky if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in KY?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long alimony payment should last in Kentucky

The duration to pay alimony in Kentucky can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of KY, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Kentucky

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Kentucky, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors That Influence Alimony Payment in Kentucky

The average amount payable as spousal support in Kentucky after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in KY, the courts in KY take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Bluegrass State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in KY

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Kentucky

The amount to be paid as spousal support in Kentucky is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in KY, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Kentucky Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Kentucky Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Kentucky and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. KY courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Kentucky, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of KY divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Kentucky Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Kentucky Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in KY:

Can a Husband get Alimony in KY?

Yes. In Kentucky, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Kentucky?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in KY, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in KY?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Kentucky, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Kentucky?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Kentucky and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Bluegrass State?

Alimony is mandatory in Kentucky as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Kentucky?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in KY?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Kentucky. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a Kentucky court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in KY}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in KY?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Kentucky

When necessary, Kentucky law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in KY usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Kentucky, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in KY.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Kentucky:

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in KY?

In Bluegrass State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.