Kansas City Lawyer
Kansas City Divorce Attorney  
Law Offices of
Mark A. Wortman
9229 Ward Parkway
Suite 255
Kansas City
Missouri 64114
Tel (816) 523-6100
Fax (816) 523-6106
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Spousal Support & Maintenance

In Missouri, spousal support also known as "maintenance", and was formerly known as "alimony". It is a form of support where money is paid, usually on a monthly basis, from one spouse to the other for the financial support of the spouse. This is distinguished from child support, which is a monthly payment made for the financial support of children. Unlike child support, there is no presumption that one spouse may be entitled to spousal maintenance, and there is no set formula or calculation for determining an amount of maintenance. Instead, Missouri provides for a two-part test to determine entitlement for maintenance, and then a list of ten factors for the court to consider in determining the amount of the award.

Qualification for Maintenance

The two part test that a party seeking maintenance must meet are as follows:

  1. The person lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him or her, to provide for their reasonable needs; AND
  2. The person is unable to support themselves 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.

Amount of Maintenance

Once a Court has determined that the two requirements above have been met, the court may consider the following list of 10 factors to determine the amount, however the Court is not limited to these 10 factors, and may consider all relevant factors to a particular case. Also, there is no formula regarding the weight of these factors or in the calculation of the amount. This is up to the discretion of the Court.

  1. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property received, and the ability of the paying spouse 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.
  2. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment.
  3. The comparative earning capacity of each spouse.
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage.
  5. The debts and assets, including marital property received and separate property received.
  6. The length of the marriage.
  7. The age, physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  8. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  9. The conduct (or misconduct) of the parties during the marriage.
  10. Any other relevant factors.

It is important to note that while all of these factors can be considered and maintenance can be awarded in any case, the majority of spousal maintenance cases are ones that involve marriages over 10 years in duration,  marriages where there is a large disparity in income, and/or marriages where one spouse was a stay at home parent, and has been out of the workforce for a significant period of time.

Duration of Maintenance Award

The Court will not limit the duration of a maintenance award unless there is a certain date that can be determined as to when the receiving spouse will become self sufficient. The receiving spouse is expected to attempt to become self sufficient, and failure to do so may be grounds for a modification or termination of maintenance. However, In cases where parties reach an agreement regarding maintenance, there can be a termination date, and any amount can be agreed upon.

Termination or Modification of Maintenance

If a maintenance award does not have a specific termination date, then it is modifiable or terminable only on a showing of changed circumstances by motion with the Court. If the maintenance is limited in duration, then it will terminate automatically on the date specified in the order.

Maintenance will also terminate upon remarriage of the party receiving the maintenance, or upon the death of either party. This is true even if the maintenance is labeled "non-modifiable" maintenance, unless specifically designated otherwise.

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The choice of a divorce attorney is a critical one. Mark A. Wortman is an experienced Kansas City divorce lawyer practicing in Jackson county Kansas City, Jackson County Independence, Platte county – Platte City, Clay county-Liberty, Cass County – Harrisonville, and surrounding areas. Call our Kansas City law firm at 816-523-6100 to speak to a divorce attorney today.


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