The use of maintenance in Kentucky divorces provides an amount of pay from one spouse to the other. The term "maintenance" replaces former terms such as alimony or spousal support.
When one spouse incurs a serious financial disadvantage due to the divorce, the other spouse may legally have to provide financial assistance in the form of maintenance. Kentucky uses some of the following types of maintenance arrangements:
While a couple is waiting for the divorce court proceeding—whether they remain under the same roof or take up separate residences—temporary maintenance is possible if the delay causes financial distress for one spouse. The court may decide the amount and name the recipient of temporary maintenance. If the divorcing parties can agree between themselves how they wish to handle their interim financial affairs, there is no need to involve the court.
A judge may honor a request by one person for permanent maintenance, which means receiving a specific amount for life. This plan is generally used only if the requesting spouse is a disabled person or cares full-time for a special needs child. If the marriage was of many years' duration, and the requesting spouse is perhaps too old to be self-supporting, the court may grant a request for permanent maintenance.
This type of maintenance is appropriate for a shorter marriage where the requesting spouse needs time and funds to prepare to join the workforce. The amount of time depends on how much training is required to obtain employment; it is usually not given for more than a few years. The maintenance depends on the receiving spouse's specific intent to acquire marketable job skills.
In some cases, the spouse who requests maintenance may prefer a lump sum amount rather than spreading payments over months or years. The court takes into account how this type of support affects any children if the requester has most of the childcare responsibility.
There are several types of maintenance in a Kentucky divorce court. Not every divorce involves maintenance if both spouses are financially stable and can provide for their reasonable living needs.
A divorcing spouse who needs maintenance should make sure he or she has all documentation relevant to a maintenance request, or the person may seek an advocate to help obtain this critical ruling.