Explaining Missouri’s alimony laws

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child & Spousal Support on Friday, July 6, 2018.

When a couple chooses to divorce in Springfield, one (or both) sides might automatically assume that they are entitled to alimony. This is likely due to the notion that many view the rewarding of alimony or spousal support payments as some sort of punitive action. In reality, that is not the case at all. Spousal support is rather a means to help one spouse who might be economically disadvantaged compared to the other support him or herself until such point as he or she is able to secure gainful employment and regain a similar financial standing to the one enjoyed while he or she was still married.

The decision to reward alimony, however, is not automatic. Rather, according to Section 452.335 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes, the court considers a number of different factors when determining whether it is even warranted. Some of these include:

  • The duration of a marriage (as well as the standard of living a couple enjoyed during that time)
  • The financial resources and earning capacity of each party involved
  • The obligations and debts each party assumes as part of a divorce agreement
  • The age and physical capabilities of each party
  • The amount of time needed for the party requesting maintenance to be trained or educated to the point of being able to secure employment

Each party’s conduct in relation to the end of a marriage is also considered, yet typically not to the point of being the determining factor in rewarding alimony.

Spousal support payments are not meant to be viewed as a permanent source of income. Indeed, Section 452.075 of Missouri’s state law says that once one receiving alimony remarries, his or her ex-spouse’s obligation to continue paying it ends.

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