Divorce is an incredibly tumultuous experience, especially when it could force you to lose your financial stability. For men, there is an added concern of whether the family court system will treat them fairly.
There are many stereotypes around gender roles in relationships, but legally, men have just as much right to alimony (also known as spousal support) in Kentucky.
Overview of Alimony Law in Kentucky
Alimony, or spousal support, is a key consideration in any divorce. Kentucky courts award alimony on a case-by-case basis.
When making an alimony decision, courts look at:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse's income and earning potential
- The couple's standard of living during the marriage
Spouses should not assume that they will automatically receive alimony in Kentucky. Alimony is appropriate only depending on the situation. For instance, an unemployed, stay-at-home father is more likely to receive spousal support than a working man with a high earning potential.
Spousal support can last for a limited time. It could also be permanent, lasting until the receiving spouse remarries or dies.
A Man’s Eligibility for Alimony in Kentucky
Traditionally, alimony was based on the idea that women were homemakers and caretakers, and men were the breadwinners. However, times have changed, and so have gender roles.
Because of this shift, more men are exploring the possibility of receiving alimony in their divorce settlements. Many still believe that men should be self-sufficient, and they do not need financial support after a divorce. Realistically, however, we know this is not always the case.
Kentucky law is clear. Spousal support is based on a spouse’s financial need, regardless of gender. When a man is eligible for alimony payments, he should not hesitate to explore this option.
Challenges Men Can Face when Requesting Alimony
Unfortunately, men can still face many challenges when requesting alimony. Here are some hurdles that stand in the way of a man who needs spousal support.
Despite shifting societal norms surrounding gender roles, many pervasive stigmas against men exist. Men who need alimony often face judgement, ridicule, or even shame. This criticism can come from peers, family, or society at large. Such shaming stands in stark contrast to the empathy and understanding women who rely on their ex-husbands receive.
Because of these stigmas, we find that a man’s biggest roadblock is within himself. Men who simply cannot support themselves after a divorce are reluctant to seek alimony. They want to prove to others that they can make it on their own, or they even want to prove it to themselves.
Sometimes, men assume that if they support themselves, they can win back their ex. This is a damaging assumption. Most marriages end for many reasons that go beyond the financial, and men can find this a difficult fact to face.
Social pressure leaves men vulnerable to financial struggles, and it perpetuates harmful stereotypes, reinforcing toxic gender norms.
If you are a man who needs alimony, it’s time to break the cycle. Recognize that there is no shame in receiving support from your ex-partner. Our system relies on money for basic survival, and a divorce should not leave you hungry.
Unfortunately, some legal biases still assume that a woman's role is as the primary caregiver. The system internalizes this assumption, making it difficult for men to prove their worth as the children’s supporter.
Men often face discrimination when attempting to secure alimony payments. These biases can create intense legal battles, with lawyers and judges often siding with women in a divorce.
More Restrictions and Conditions
In a perfect world, judges rely on the letter of the law, and they don’t allow their personal biases to influence their decisions. In reality, judges are only people. They enter each situation with all their assumptions intact.
Commonly, judges put more restrictions and conditions on men seeking spousal support. They may force men to keep journals detailing their attempts to get work. Judges sometimes order a shorter duration of support for men, hoping to encourage the recipient to “man up” and gain independence.
Legally, judges should use the same criteria for anyone needing alimony, regardless of gender. Therefore, it is crucial for men who need support to seek guidance from a good attorney. Part of a lawyer’s job is keeping a judge on track, reminding them of the law. Your attorney is there to advocate for your rights. Experienced lawyers also know which judges favor women in a divorce, and they can strategize accordingly.
Tips for Men Who Need Spousal Support
In Kentucky, men must work to maximize their chances of receiving alimony. They can start by being proactive and carefully planning their approach.
One important step is familiarizing yourself with the state's alimony laws. Many online resources offer this information.
Also, learn the factors that judges typically consider when making alimony decisions. We outlined some of these considerations above, but you should take time to do deeper research for yourself. For instance, search for the results of case studies similar to yours.
You should also formulate a clear, compelling case for why you require alimony. Gather evidence of your income, expenses, and contributions during the marriage.
Finally, get help from an attorney. In many situations, the law is gender-blind, but people are not. You need help from a legal professional who can help you build a solid case to get the support you need.
Ultimately, men should not shy away from pursuing alimony. You have just as much of a right to live comfortably as your spouse, and you should exercise that right during an already difficult time.
Law Office of Pamela C. Bratcher is here to help anyone who needs alimony, regardless of their gender. If you are concerned about your financial standing after a divorce, call our team at (270) 977-8910 or reach out to us online.