St. Louis Alimony Attorney
Spousal Maintenance or Alimony
Missouri law allows one divorcing spouse to request maintenance payments -- informally known as alimony -- from the other. Courts don't award maintenance automatically, nor do they award it solely based on gender; what matters is the spouses' relative incomes. If one person doesn't work, or works but earns much less money than the other, the court may award maintenance to lessen the financial impact of divorce and help ease that person's transition into financial independence. As two-income households have become the norm, many divorcing people don't even consider asking for maintenance. But because Missouri courts have significant discretion in whether and how to award maintenance payments, it's important to retain a skilled St. Louis divorce lawyer in any maintenance case.
Factors Judges Must Consider
Divorced people in Missouri can get maintenance payments if a judge believes they can't support themselves through employment or property, including any marital property they will receive in the divorce. Parents who care for a young or disabled child are considered unable to support themselves, at least for as long as that child needs full-time care. However, judges have discretion over how long someone may receive maintenance, and how much he or she can receive. Maintenance can be temporary or permanent; it can have a termination date; it can be modifiable or nonmodifiable. In deciding between these options, judges must consider:
- The financial resources of the payee (the person receiving maintenance payments), including any child support awards.
- How much time the payee might need to get education or job skills.
- Each person's comparative earning capacity.
- The standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
- The length of the marriage.
- Each person's financial obligations and assets.
- The age, health and emotional condition of the payee.
- How well the payer can meet his or her own needs while also paying maintenance.
- How both parties behaved during the marriage.
- Anything else the court feels is relevant.
Generally speaking, an older spouse who hasn't worked in a long time is a better candidate for maintenance than a younger spouse or one with good earning prospects. Some spouses are awarded maintenance only until they can complete job training, or until a young child is old enough to require less care. Even a permanent maintenance order ends with the remarriage or death of the payee. But as long as a maintenance order is modifiable, it can be modified or ended to reflect changes in either person's financial circumstances.
Contact the St. Louis Alimony Attorneys at Page Law
Because Missouri judges decide maintenance on a case-by-case basis, you must present the fullest and most complete picture of your finances, skills and obligations to the court. In order to get the best and most appropriate maintenance order possible, it's essential to have a knowledgeable Missouri divorce attorney like Tonya D. Page by your side. Tonya D. Page has handled many Missouri divorces, including some with complex financial issues; she has the experience and the compassion you need during this difficult time. Call Page Law today to speak with an experienced legal professional about your maintenance case.