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Alimony, or spousal support, is a court-ordered agreement in which one spouse must provide financial support to the other during or after a divorce. The goal of alimony is to provide for a spouse’s financial well-being until he or she can survive independently.

If the Kentucky family courts recently awarded you alimony in a divorce case, you may wonder how long your spousal maintenance payments will last. Each case is unique. The answer will depend on the type of alimony you receive, as well as several lifestyle-related factors.

Temporary vs. permanent alimony

Kentucky spousal maintenance law enables you to seek temporary alimony at the very start of a divorce case, when the split is first underway. A temporary spousal support agreement can provide short-term alimony to cover your immediate needs post-separation.

Temporary maintenance will end immediately when the courts finalize the dissolution of your marriage. After temporary alimony expires, the courts may initiate a permanent order. Your order may either be short term or long term while you figure out how to become self-supporting.

Factors in an alimony duration decision

Obtaining alimony takes proving your eligibility using each spouse’s income, the length of the marriage and your ability to earn based on your education and work history. Once you demonstrate your eligibility, a judge may grant permanent spousal maintenance with appropriate terms for your unique situation. A judge may look at the following factors to determine how long alimony payments should last:

  • How long it will take for you to get occupational training/education
  • Your standard of living during the marriage
  • Your age and physical health
  • Your ex-spouse’s financial resources

The courts generally do not intend alimony payments to last forever. Instead, they will pick a date at which to reevaluate your claim to spousal maintenance. Your ex-spouse may request a modification or premature termination of alimony payments at any time if your circumstances significantly change—for example, if you remarry or move in with a new partner. A lawyer can help you with your specific alimony case.