How Long Do You Pay Alimony? How Much, How Long, and How to Get It

Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a former spouse after divorce or separation.

Alimony is not automatically granted in Kenya, but it can be ordered by a court if one spouse proves that he or she is entitled to it.

An image of divorce fee
How Long Do You Pay Alimony?

The purpose of alimony is to ensure that a deserving spouse enjoys spousal support so as to maintain the standard of life he or she was used before separation or divorce.

READ MORE: What Happens in Family Court? Everything You Need To Know

Factors that Determine Alimony

The amount and duration of alimony depend on various factors, such as:

  • The income and assets of both spouses
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including domestic and childcare responsibilities
  • The earning capacity and potential of each spouse
  • The needs and expenses of each spouse
  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Any other relevant circumstances

The court has the discretion to decide the amount and duration of alimony, based on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.

The court may also modify or terminate alimony if there is a change in the circumstances of either party.

Types of Alimony

There are different types of alimony that can be awarded in Kenya, such as:

  • Lump sum alimony:

This is a one-time payment of a fixed amount of money that is meant to settle the financial obligations between the spouses.

It can be paid in installments or in a single payment, depending on the agreement or court order.

  • Periodic alimony

This is a regular payment of a fixed amount of money that is paid for a specified period of time or until a certain event occurs, such as the remarriage or death of either spouse.

It can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the agreement or court order.

  • Rehabilitative alimony

This is a temporary payment of a fixed amount of money that is meant to help the recipient spouse become self-sufficient and independent.

It is usually paid for a short period of time, such as a few months or years, until the recipient spouse acquires the necessary skills, education, or employment to support himself or herself.

  • Permanent alimony

This is a payment of a fixed amount of money that is paid for an indefinite period of time or until the death of either spouse.

It is usually awarded in cases where the recipient spouse is unable to support himself or herself due to old age, illness, disability, or lack of employability.

Alimony and Matrimonial Property

Alimony is separate from matrimonial property, which is the property that is acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage.

Matrimonial property includes land, buildings, household goods, vehicles, bank accounts, shares, pensions, and other assets.

According to the Matrimonial Property Act of 2013, matrimonial property is divided equally between the spouses upon divorce, unless there is a valid reason to deviate from the equal share principle.

However, the Supreme Court of Kenya ruled in 2020 that couples are not entitled to an automatic 50 percent of matrimonial property upon divorce, and that the court must consider the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or improvement of the property.

Therefore, alimony and matrimonial property are two distinct legal concepts that are determined by different laws and factors.

Alimony is based on the need and entitlement of the recipient spouse, while matrimonial property is based on the contribution and ownership of the spouses.

Alimony and matrimonial property can be agreed upon by the spouses through a written contract or a court order.

Who loses the most in Divorce?

There is no definitive answer to who loses the most in divorce, as different factors may affect the outcome and well-being of each spouse.

image of divorcing couple
Divorcing Couple

However, some studies and statistics suggest that men may suffer more than women in terms of health, finances, and emotional distress.

Here are some of the possible reasons why:

  • Men tend to have higher mortality rates after divorce than women.

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics, divorced men have a mortality rate of 1,773 per 100,000, compared to 1,096 for divorced women.

Some of the causes of death include suicide, heart disease, and accidents.

Some experts suggest that men may have less social support, less coping skills, and less self-care habits than women after divorce.

  • Men tend to lose more assets and income after divorce than women.

According to a study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, men experience a 25% drop in income after divorce, while women experience a 17% increase.

This may be due to the fact that men often pay alimony and child support to their ex-wives, while women often receive a larger share of the marital property and custody of the children.

Additionally, men may face more difficulties in finding a new partner or remarrying than women, which may affect their financial stability.

  • Men tend to experience more emotional distress and depression after divorce than women.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 41% of divorced men reported feeling depressed, compared to 28% of divorced women.

Men may also feel more anger, guilt, and loneliness than women after divorce.

Some of the reasons for this may include the loss of intimacy, companionship, and identity that marriage provides, as well as the reduced contact with their children and friends.

Of course, these are general trends and not absolute truths.

Each divorce case is unique and may have different impacts on each spouse, depending on their individual circumstances, personalities, and coping strategies.

Therefore, it is important to seek professional help and support if you are going through a divorce, regardless of your gender.

Divorce can be a challenging and painful process, but it can also be an opportunity for personal growth and happiness.

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