Alimony, also called "spousal support" or "spousal maintenance," is an important component of the divorce process and helps ensure that both parties have an adequate financial grounding after separation. In many cases, one of the spouses will have given up a steady income in order to focus on domestic duties, or perhaps started their career later. When a couple splits up, the newly independent individuals must seek housing and other necessities, but often one of the spouses won't have enough income to cover these expenses.
Alimony is rarely considered a permanent fix, but rather a "leg up" for the lesser-earning party who nevertheless contributed to the family in other ways.
Missouri Alimony at a Glance
In Missouri, an order of spousal maintenance may be either modifiable or unmodifiable. If it's modifiable, then the court may change the amount or duration of alimony to reflect changes in either party's situation. In fact, getting remarried almost always ends the other spouse's alimony obligations. There is no firm set of guidelines for how alimony is calculated in Missouri; instead, they are determined on a case-by-case basis.
If the party paying spousal maintenance fails to do so, you may seek a court order for wage garnishment.
Additional information and official forms can be found in the table below.
Missouri Revised Statutes § 452.335, § 452.075, § 452.370
Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
In a divorce proceeding, the court may grant a maintenance order to either spouse, but only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
- Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable needs; and
- Is unable to support himself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
Factors Considered When Determining Amount and Duration of Alimony
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
- The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him and the separate property of each party;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
- Any other relevant factors.
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new legislation but also through court decisions and other means. Contact a Missouri family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Missouri Alimony: Related Resources
Have an Attorney Help You With Your Alimony Claim
At its core, a marriage is a contract between two parties to become a single economic unit. When the contract is broken, parties often have the right to seek an appropriate amount of financial support to help them live independently. If you have any questions about filing an alimony claim or paying it, consider speaking with an experienced Missouri divorce attorney today.