St. Louis Divorce Lawyers

How Alimony Works In Missouri: Everything You Should Know

Due to the subjective nature of spousal support agreements and proceedings, determining the spousal support you deserve can be difficult.

Missouri does have alimony, but it’s commonly referred to as spousal support or simply “maintenance.” Let’s explore spousal support in Missouri, explaining how it’s determined, how long it lasts, the qualifications the spouse seeking maintenance must meet, etc.

What is Spousal Support?

To put it simply, spousal support is a predetermined sum paid by one spouse to the other spouse after they separate or divorce. Like alimony, the purpose of spousal support is to assist the low-earning spouse in getting back on their feet after marriage or maintaining the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage.

How long does it last? There are no set guidelines. Missouri has no established guidelines outlining when the lower-earning spouse will receive spousal support. The court can order short-term, long-term, or permanent support.

Is it like child support? No! Unlike child support, spousal support isn’t an automatic right and isn’t awarded in every divorce or separation case. Also, in most cases, the judge won’t talk about spousal support unless the lower-earning spouse files a spousal support claim.

Qualification for Spousal Maintenance in Missouri

To qualify for spousal support in Missouri, you will need to demonstrate the following — according to Missouri spousal support law (revised statute §452.335):

  • You lack sufficient resources to cater to your reasonable needs
  • You cannot self-support through regular employment

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Missouri?

According to Missouri law, the court must determine the amount based on the following factors:

  • How long the spouses have been living together
  • The financial capacity of each spouse, including any marital property
  • The age, health, and emotional condition of the party seeking support
  • Any reported misconduct by either spouse

It is important to note that the court is not limited to these factors alone and can include other relevant factors in a specific case. Moreover, there is no formula to determine these factors’ weight.

Can a Missouri Court Modify a Spousal Support Agreement?

Yes, it can. However, the party seeking the modification must provide evidence to prove the modifications are necessary. For example, if the payor spouse wants the court to change the terms or reduce the amount in the spousal support agreement, they will be required to prove at least one of the following factors:

  • Their or their ex’s income has changed
  • The recipient spouse is financially stable
  • The recipient’s spouse has remarried

Missouri Family Law Attorneys

Due to the subjective nature of spousal support agreements and proceedings, determining the spousal support you deserve can be difficult. However, The Betz Law Firm is here to help. If you are going through a divorce or want to pursue a spousal maintenance claim, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced attorneys.

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