If you’re divorcing a spouse who earns considerably more than you, you’ll likely be seeking spousal support (commonly known as alimony) for at least some period. “Permanent” alimony isn’t common these days. Judges are more likely to order rehabilitative alimony to give the lesser-earning spouse time to get the education, training and experience they need to be self-supporting.
Of course, every case is different. That’s why Kentucky law gives judges a number of factors to consider when ordering alimony.
What factors do judges consider?
Besides the financial resources of each spouse individually, these include:
- The ages and health of both spouses
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living the couple had during the marriage
That last one is something many divorcing spouses realize they may have a right to maintain after divorce. Here’s an obvious example: Say that one spouse worked to help put the other through medical school and then left the workplace to raise the kids while their spouse built a successful practice and maybe provided unpaid assistance in the practice over the years.
Was your standard of living real or artificial?
It would seem reasonable that this spouse has a right to seek support that would help them maintain the comfortable lifestyle they’ve had for decades. Of course, this assumes that the couple could in fact afford that lifestyle. If it was built on a mountain of credit card debt and loans, as would likely be uncovered in divorce, that could affect the spousal support awards.
On the other hand, if the couple was living a frugal lifestyle while the greater-earning spouse stashed money in off-shore accounts or businesses or just had bank accounts they didn’t tell their husband or wife about, the lesser-earning spouse could be awarded support that would reflect the funds at the wealthier spouse’s disposal.
This is just one more reason why it’s crucial that both spouses are honest and transparent in their financial disclosures during a divorce. If you don’t believe your soon-to-be-ex is doing that, it may be worthwhile to hire a financial professional who can find hidden assets. With sound legal guidance, you can better seek the spousal support and other settlements you deserve.