Why is the length of the marriage important in a Louisville divorce? Kentucky Family Law presumes a marriage which lasted longer than 10 years to be of long duration. Two of the primary issues associated with the length of the marriage are maintenance and the division of marital property.
Maintenance is designed to provide additional financial resources to a spouse who earns substantially less, who left a career to raise children or manage the household, or who may not have immediately marketable skills. Maintenance is not usually designed to go on for a long period of time. Consider it more like additional support while the recipient works to become financially self-sustaining.
One of the things which makes the length of the marriage important in a Louisville divorce is the duration of maintenance. When a marriage lasts less than 10 years, maintenance negotiations often begin with a term of roughly half the length of the marriage. So if the underlying marriage lasted 8 years, the Court often finds a term of 4 years of maintenance to be in order.
Marriages which last longer than 10 years are looked at a bit differently. The longer the marriage, the longer an order of maintenance is likely to last. When a couple has been married for 20 years, maintenance is often ordered until the recipient remarries or passes away.
Another issue which makes the length of the marriage important in a Louisville divorce is the division of marital property. The starting point for the division of assets and debts is an equal division between the parties. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage lasts the more likely it is for the Judge in your case to consider awarding more than 50% of marital assets to one of the parties to balance financial sustainability.
When one spouse earns substantially more than the other or one of the spouses simply does not possess education, experience and skills to be self-sustaining the Judge may also consider increasing their portion of the property division if the underlying marriage lasted longer than 10 years.
It is important to note that separations during the course of the marriage can impact the duration calculation. For example, if a married couple separated multiple times during the course of their marriage it can impact the Court’s perception of the actual duration of the marriage as it impacts maintenance or the division of marital property.