Maintenance - Trial and Settlement in Lexington, KY


While Kentucky is a ‘no fault” state, there is one situation in which, despite that fact, the Court can look at fault, not to determine IF an award will be made but as to the amount. The Court can look at the fault of the potential recipient of maintenance. This could include the scenario where the person seeking maintenance has engaged in an extra-marital relationship. You should discuss any concerns with your lawyer.


Each person seeking maintenance has a unique fact situation and there are numerous solutions, rather a cookie cutter approach to awarding maintenance.

Temporary (While the divorce case is going on). In some cases, maintenance is awarded on a temporary basis as a “band-aid” until there is a final hearing or agreement negotiated by the parties. In this scenario, there might be a short hearing to establish whether to implement the maintenance.

Permanent. In some circumstances, the Court will determine, or the parties will agree, that maintenance should be paid throughout the life of the recipient after the divorce is over. Sometimes, the amount awarded will change once the payor retires, due to the payor having less income from working and both parties potentially transitioning to receiving social security.

Rehabilitative. This term is often used to describe maintenance paid after the divorce is over for a specific amount of time and for a specific amount of money. It might be awarded, for example, if a party needs to return to school to acquire sufficient education to allow that person to become financially independent. It could be awarded to someone who has been out of the workforce to ease with the transition. Sometimes, the amount awarded will change once the payor retires, due to the payor having less income from working and both parties potentially transitioning to receiving social security.


A big part of assisting the Court or the parties to determine appropriate maintenance is coming up with a budget that displays the monthly expenses of each side.

The spouse seeking maintenance will need such a list to show that the income available to him or her from all available sources is not sufficient to meet that person’s expenses. The budget is also useful to display the lifestyle the parties enjoyed during the marriage. The standard of living that was established during the marriage is a big factor. Did the parties fly to Europe every year? Did they have lavish parties? Did they buy expensive art? Or, were they homebodies who lived modestly, eating in most nights, for example? The budget helps show that standard of living. How long have the parties had the standard of living? Is it a very recent development or long-standing? This can also matter.

The spouse who might have to pay maintenance needs the budget to show how much income there is available to pay the maintenance and how much money he or she will need for his or her own expenses.

We use a very detailed budget list that addresses not only the big ticket items, like the rent or mortgage and car payments but also the smaller expenses (newspaper, coffee at a local café, haircuts, pet food) to make sure the budget is as complete as possible.

Artificially or dishonestly inflating or deflating expenses is likely to backfire on the person trying to play games with the Court.


Some budgets are complicated enough that a party will want to work with an accountant to ensure that the final product is accurate. In addition, an accountant can be very helpful in evaluating how much income property awarded to a party can generate. Finally, an accountant can be an excellent resource to analyze the tax consequences of different proposals during settlement negotiations to come up with the best option (generally maintenance is taxable income to the recipient and tax deductible for the payor). For example, sometimes the parties will agree to the recipient receiving a larger share of property instead of a larger maintenance payment.


In some cases, one of the parties has been out of the workforce for a significant period of time. Perhaps employment skills are rusty, or the spouse believes that he or she does not have enough education to get a decent paying job. A vocational expert can evaluate a candidate for maintenance and report how much additional education will be needed for the candidate to be financially independent and how long it will take for the spouse to achieve those goals. The expert can also determine the spouse’s skill set, strengths and weaknesses, perhaps even physical or emotional issues, and recommend particular job fields.


If illness or disease (either physical or mental) is a part of the reason a party seeks maintenance, the person seeking maintenance might have to reveal his or her medical records to explain absences from the workforce in the past or that is expected to continue into the future. A medical professional might have to testify.


If the parties cannot agree on maintenance, then the matter will end up in front of the judge. Under this scenario, both parties will likely be called upon to testify as to the many matters described here. You will want to work diligently with your attorney to discuss your testimony, including witnesses and exhibits that you plan to introduce.

If you believe that you might be a candidate for maintenance or spousal support (alimony), you should discuss the facts with a lawyer.
If you believe the other side in a divorce will seek maintenance, you should discuss the case with a family law attorney.

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