Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Missouri: When Granted, Duration, Termination, Modifcation.

Spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, can be awarded to either spouse in Missouri divorces. To support the award, the Court must find that the spouse seeking maintenance (1) lacks sufficient property, including marital properly awarded, to meet their reasonable needs, and (2) the spouse 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. The spouse seeking maintenance must be able to demonstrate a need for it, and maintenance is not awarded as a form of compensation for breach of the "marital contract".

There is no set formula for the calculation of maintenance, as in some other states, and it is determined on a case by case basis. Duration of the marriage is an important factor also in cases where one spouse forgoes the development of a career while the other is free to advance a career, and maintenance is awarded more often in marriages longer than 10 years, but can be awarded in a marriage of any duration. Ability to pay and earning capacity are also important factors, and the party receiving maintenance has an affirmative duty to seek employment.

Unless the court can determine an exact date when the receiving spouse will become self supporting, court ordered maintenance will have no termination date, and it must later be terminated by way of motion by the paying spouse. However, the parties can agree to maintenance for a set term, but that generally will be non-modifiable.

Maintenance, whether open-ended or non-modifiable for a set term, will still terminate upon remarriage of the receiving party or the death of either party, unless the decree specifically states that the award will survive either death or remarriage. Maintenance that is open-ended can be modified or terminated upon showing of a substantial and continuing changed circumstances, including the financial resources of both parties, contributions of a new spouse or cohabitant, and the earning capacity of an unemployed party.