Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process, and one of the most contentious aspects is often spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance. Spousal support is a financial arrangement that can significantly impact the lives of both parties involved. In the state of Missouri, spousal support laws aim to provide financial stability and fairness to both spouses after divorce. In this blog, we will delve into the key aspects of spousal support in Missouri divorces.
Understanding Spousal Support: Spousal support is a legal obligation for one spouse to provide financial support to the other during or after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living that is as close as possible to what they enjoyed during the marriage. It is essential to remember that spousal support is not automatically granted in every divorce case. The court considers various factors when determining whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much and for how long.
Types of Spousal Support in Missouri: In Missouri, there are different types of spousal support:
- Temporary Spousal Support: This type of support is granted during divorce proceedings and is intended to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse while the divorce is pending.
- Rehabilitative Spousal Support: Rehabilitative support is designed to help the recipient spouse become self-supporting. This type of support may be awarded to cover the costs of education, training, or other efforts to gain employment skills.
- Permanent Spousal Support: Permanent support is relatively rare and is awarded in cases where one spouse is unlikely ever to become self-supporting due to age, disability, or other factors. This type of support typically continues until the recipient spouse remarries or passes away.
Factors Considered in Spousal Support Determination: Missouri courts consider several factors when determining spousal support, including:
- The financial resources and needs of each spouse.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age, physical and emotional condition of each spouse.
- Each spouse’s ability to meet their own financial needs independently.
- Each spouse’s obligations and assets, including property distribution.
- The comparative earning capacity of each spouse.
- The conduct of both spouses during the marriage (though misconduct is generally not a significant factor).
- Any other relevant factors.
Calculating Spousal Support: Unlike child support, Missouri does not have specific guidelines for calculating spousal support. Instead, the court exercises discretion based on the unique circumstances of each case. The judge will weigh the factors mentioned above and make a decision that is deemed fair and equitable.
Modifying Spousal Support: Spousal support orders in Missouri can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances. This can include changes in income, health, or other factors that impact the need for support. Either spouse can petition the court for a modification, but it is essential to follow the proper legal procedures.
Spousal support in a Missouri divorce can be a complex and contentious issue, as it involves the financial well-being of both parties. Understanding the types of support, the factors considered in its determination, and the potential for modification is crucial for those navigating the divorce process. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced family law attorney can be instrumental in ensuring that your rights and financial interests are protected during this challenging time. Remember, the court’s primary goal is to achieve fairness and equity in spousal support decisions while taking into account the specific circumstances of each case.
At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work. Contact us for a consultation at (314) 314-5505.