In an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, the Court may grant maintenance (also commonly known as alimony or spousal support) to either spouse in order to assist that spouse in meeting his or her living expenses.
The Court can only grant maintenance if it first finds that the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to meet his or her own reasonable needs, either through property or appropriate employment. If the spouse seeking maintenance meets this threshold, the Court then considers a list of factors, including the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, the comparative earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the spouse seeking maintenance, and conduct during the marriage.
Maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends heavily on the facts. Judges have broad discretion in awarding maintenance, and because there is no formula for calculating the amount of maintenance in Missouri, it is an issue that is hard to predict and is often litigated.
For further information on whether or not you might qualify for maintenance or have to pay maintenance, please seek advice from an experienced family law attorney with our firm.