In Missouri, alimony is sometimes referred to as maintenance or spousal support. This court-ordered financial support is intended to ensure that no spouse suffers undue financial hardship while adjusting to post-divorce life. The court may order support for a period of time or until a specific event occurs, such as the remarriage of the receiving spouse. This guide will answer some common questions clients have about alimony in Missouri.
7 Frequently Asked Questions about Alimony
1. Who determines alimony in Missouri?
In Missouri, a family court judge determines whether or not alimony is necessary. The courts consider various factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and the age and health of each spouse. There is no set formula for deciding on a particular amount.
2. What are the different types of alimony?
Missouri has three primary types of alimony: temporary, permanent, and rehabilitative.
Temporary alimony is awarded to the recipient’s spouse while the divorce is pending. This type of spousal support is common during lengthy divorce proceedings when there are significant assets to divide and needs financial support for a short duration.
Permanent alimony is rare and is awarded when one spouse cannot become self-supporting due to age, disability, or other factors.
Periodic or rehabilitative alimony is designed to support a spouse while they become self-supporting. The recipient spouse generally receives support while they further their education or participate in job training opportunities.
3. How is the amount of alimony determined?
According to Missouri law, two circumstances constitute need. A spouse entitled to maintenance must lack sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs, and that spouse must be unable to support themselves through adequate employment. The receiving spouse may lack appropriate job qualifications or be obligated to care for a child whose medical or educational needs make it inappropriate for the parent to maintain full-time employment.
A variety of factors determine the amount of support awarded in a divorce. The court will consider the length of the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse, the health and age of each spouse, and any other relevant factors.
4. Can alimony be modified?
The court must include a provision clarifying if the award is modifiable or non-modifiable when an alimony order is created. The court can modify alimony based on a change in circumstances that affects the ability of either party to pay or receive support. For example, the court may modify the amount if the paying spouse loses their job or suffers a severe injury affecting their ability to work.
5. What happens if the receiving spouse remarries?
Alimony terminates automatically from the date of the new marriage. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a former spouse who cannot support themselves. When the receiving spouse remarries, the court assumes they no longer need financial support from an ex-spouse.
6. What are the consequences of not paying alimony?
Those who fail to pay alimony may face civil or criminal penalties. Sometimes a court may order wage garnishment, which takes money directly from an individual’s paycheck for support payments. In other cases, a court may order a lien on the individual’s assets or property, which prevents them from selling or transferring ownership until back alimony payments are repaid in full.
7. How can a divorce attorney help?
If you are considering divorce, it is essential to seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney. They can guide you through all aspects of the divorce process, including alimony issues. Alimony, or supposal support, is a very subjective aspect of divorce, and what the parties agree to or what a particular judge decides to award can vary. Every situation is different, so general information may not fit your circumstances. An experienced attorney will evaluate your case, discuss your concerns, and answer any questions you may have regarding alimony and other important matters.
Call An Experienced Family Law Attorney
At Lecour Family Law, we counsel our clients about complex family law issues and help them consider the best tactics for dispute resolution. We understand that divorce is stressful, and we want to help you meet your goals and secure a better and brighter future. Call us today at 636-685-0440 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We pride ourselves on offering family legal services tailored to your specific needs.
Lecour Family Law is located at 1270 Jungermann Road in St. Peters, Missouri. We serve clients throughout St. Charles, O’Fallon, Troy, Warrenton, and St. Louis.