What Is Spousal Support (also known as Maintenance or Alimony)?
In many divorce proceedings, spousal support is a major focal point. This is particularly true when one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent and has not worked in recent years. While there are no set guidelines or requirements for spousal support in Missouri, that doesn’t mean that spouses are not entitled to seek it. It only means that a compelling case needs to be made no matter what side you are on in a maintenance case.
Be sure that you have an experienced lawyer on your side who understands the law and will fight to protect your interests. At Stange Law Firm, PC, we represent clients throughout Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma in all types of spousal support matters. No matter which side of the case you are on, we are committed to doing everything in our power to secure the most favorable possible result on your behalf.
Building the Strongest Possible Case to Support Your Position
i. Maintenance in Missouri
Spousal support, sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, is not automatic in Missouri. The court has broad discretion to award maintenance or not award it. If the court awards maintenance, in Missouri, limited duration maintenance is almost never awarded unless the court can point to a fixed date where maintenance is not needed. This means that in most instances, the court can either award maintenance in an open-ended manner terminable upon death, remarriage or a change of circumstance of a substantial and continuing nature or else not award it at all. This can make maintenance an all or nothing proposition at trial.
Parties can agree to contractual maintenance on a fixed term, but fixed terms are not likely in Missouri, absent an agreement, unless the court can point to a future, non-speculative date where maintenance is no longer needed. The issue of whether “cohabitation” terminates maintenance is complex, not automatic and based on numerous factors.
When you hire our firm, we will present the strongest possible case for or against an alimony award based on your best interests. In many cases, we will examine whether a vocational examination would be helpful to your case.
The court looks at several factors when considering spousal support, including:
- The need of one spouse versus the other spouse’s ability to pay
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the spouse seeking support
- The impact on the children
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
In most cases, spousal support can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances for either spouse. Our attorneys are prepared to help you if the need for a spousal support modification arises. If you have already received an adverse spousal support order, Stange Law Firm can represent you in the filing of an appeal.
ii. Maintenance in Illinois
In Illinois, a court makes the threshold decision that maintenance is appropriate in a given case. While judges do not have to use the formula, they must make a finding explaining why they did not. Under the formula, a maintenance award should generally equal 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income, not to exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined gross income when added to the payee’s gross. This might sound complex, but our attorneys can go through this with you.
iii. Spousal Maintenance in Kansas
In Kansas, the court has wide discretion as it relates to spousal support like Missouri. However, a spousal support award cannot be ordered for longer than 121 months. But the parties can agree to a longer term for purposes of settling the case.
iv. Alimony in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, much like Missouri, courts don’t rely on a formula when weighing whether to order alimony or the amount and duration. Instead, the court will look at the spouses’ circumstances, considering the needs of each spouse and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay. The court will also consider the length of marriage and spouses’ ability to be self-supporting.
If you are going through a spousal support case, you might be interested in reading one of our articles on the topic: As breadwinning moms increase so do dads seeking spousal support.
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