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Missouri Alimony

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.335 gives the court the power to award alimony, known as maintenance, in any divorce or legal separation.

Either spouse may be awarded alimony if it is shown that:

  • he or she cannot support himself or herself;
  • or he or she lacks sufficient property (including his or her share of any marital property) to provide for his or her own needs;
  • or the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse stay at home.

In deciding alimony, judges may consider the conduct of each spouse during the marriage.

Alimony continues until the court orders it to cease or if specific circumstances intervene. Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.075 states that the remarriage of a recipient terminates any alimony award made from the date of the subsequent marriage. This termination does not need court approval, and happens as soon as the spouse weds.

In Missouri alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the Circuit Court can order support on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Alimony

Missouri alimony payments can be made permanent or for a specific time period, and they can also indicate whether or not the award is modifiable, according to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.335(3). A court cannot modify alimony awards that have a specific termination date and specifically state they are not modifiable. All other awards are subject to modification, but only if either spouse experiences what is called a "substantial and continuing" change in his or her finances or circumstances.

In Missouri courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-Term, or permanent, maintenance may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Factors Considered by the Court

Alimony is discretionary, and according to Missouri Statutes - Title 30 - Chapter 452 - Sections: 335 and 345, the court may order maintenance for a permanent or temporary period after considering all economic relevant factors including:

  • the financial resources of the party desiring support
  • the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
  • the earning capacity of each spouse;
  • the standard of living established while married;
  • the financial obligations and resources of each spouse;
  • the length of the marriage;
  • the age and health condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • the conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
  • any other relevant factors.

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