Kansas City Attorney for Spousal Support
About Missouri Spousal Support (Also Called Alimony or Spousal Maintenance)
In Missouri, spousal support is 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 after a divorce. 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.
Below you will find information about Missouri spousal support law. We encourage you to speak with a qualified divorce attorney if you have questions about spousal support in your divorce. An experienced attorney can make all the difference in establishing a fair amount of support in your case and protecting you financially in the long run.
Qualification for Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Missouri
The two part test that a spouse seeking maintenance must meet is as follows:
- The person lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him or her, to provide for their reasonable needs; AND
- 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.
How Courts Determine the Amount of Spousal 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 of spousal maintenance to aware, if any. The court is not limited to these 10 factors, however, and may consider all factors relevant in 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.
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property received, and the ability of the paying spouse to meet his or her 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 debts and assets, including marital property received and separate property received
- The length of the marriage
- The age, 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 (or misconduct) of the parties during the marriage
- 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.
How Long Do Maintenance Payments Last?
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.
Changing or Ending Spousal Maintenance Payments
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.
For More Information on Spousal Maintenance in Missouri
For more information about spousal maintenance in Missouri — including whether it is appropriate or modifiable in your case — contact experienced Kansas City divorce attorney Mark A. Wortman.