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SPOUSAL SUPPORT (MAINTENANCE)
In Missouri, what used to be called "alimony" is now called "maintenance". There is a threshold test that you must meet to receive maintenance. That test is:
- Do you lack sufficient property, including marital property given to you in the dissolution, to provide for your needs?
- Are you unable to support yourself through a job, or are you the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for you not to work?
If you pass both of the above tests, then the court considers ten factors in deciding the amount of maintenance.
- Financial resources of person asking for maintenance.
- Time needed to "retrain" the person seeking maintenance.
- Relative earning power of each person.
- Standard of living during the marriage.
- Debts and assets each person received in the dissolution.
- Length of the marriage.
- Age, physical and emotional condition of each person.
- The basic living expenses of the person who would pay the maintenance.
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage.
- Other relevant factors such as sacrifices one party may have made to send the other spouse to school.
The length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the relative earning power of each spouse are often the most important maintenance factors. If the parties had a long marriage, one spouse has a substantial income, the parties enjoyed high standard of living during the marriage, and the other spouse was not employed during the marriage, but stayed at home and maintained the household, the employed spouse will likely be obligated to pay maintenance.
The determination of whether maintenance should be paid, and, if so, how much and for how long, involve complex issues. If maintenance is an issue in your divorce, you should contact an experienced family law attorney.
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