What is Contractual / Rehabilitative Spousal Support?
Spousal maintenance cases can sometimes be quite contentious. In some cases, one party might feel as if they cannot meet their reasonable needs without spousal support (formerly known as alimony). But the other party to the marriage might feel as if they cannot afford to assist while meeting their own needs. Alternatively, a party might believe that their spouse, or ex-spouse, is capable of gainful employment if they sought opportunities.
In many instances, this can result in parties going to trial to determine whether maintenance will be ordered. In a state like Missouri, this can be quite a risky proposition. In these cases, the court is usually left with the option of (a) ordering modifiable maintenance indefinitely until a change of circumstances of a substantial and continuing change or remarriage, death or cohabitation (in some instances); or (b) ordering no maintenance.
Some states give the court the ability to order maintenance for a set term. But this is rare in a state like Missouri as an example. Courts generally cannot order an ending date for maintenance unless they can point to a set date where there is no longer a need. Instead, it continues into the future indefinitely unless the court modifies it or terminates it later.
Contractual Maintenance Can Be A Middle Road
When spousal maintenance cases are adversarial, parties sometimes look for a common sense, middle road. This option is not mutually beneficial in every case. But in some cases, parties might consider the option of contractual maintenance.
Contractual maintenance is where parties agree through settlement that maintenance is going to be paid for a set time duration. This means that they stipulate that maintenance will be paid for a set number of months or years. Afterwards, the maintenance obligation automatically terminates without the parties having to appear back in court.
This can cause many parties to reach a middle ground that keeps them out of a costly trial where a judge has to make a determination. It can also help parties save money on costly appeals or motions to modify — which often happens in contested maintenance cases. Courts sometimes refer to contractual maintenance as “rehabilitative maintenance.”
In some cases, party receiving contractual maintenance can also sometimes receive a disproportionate share of the assets in exchange for agreeing to contractual/rehabilitative maintenance. This is not always the case, but it is something to consider for parties in certain cases.
Do You Need Help With a Maintenance Case In Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, or Oklahoma in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Tulsa, Wichita or Beyond?
If you need help with a maintenance case, and/or want to find out more about contractual/rehabilitative maintenance, you can contact Stange Law Firm, PC online or at 855-805-0595.