Maintenance is financial support for a spouse and is sometimes thought of as alimony. Maintenance is awarded in a divorce. Not every spouse who wants spousal financial support is eligible to receive it. In order to qualify for this, the divorce court must first find two items: (1) that spouse requesting maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and (2) that the spouse is unable to support himself, or the spouse is the custodian of a child who circumstances dictate that the parent not work. Upon proof of these conditions, the divorce court may then consider the amount of spousal support.
Factors for Maintenance
The court may consider all relevant facts in determining an award of maintenance; however, the court is required to consider the following factors pursuant to section 452.335 RSMo:
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking financial support to find appropriate employment;
- The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him and the separate property of each party;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking financial support;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and Any other relevant factors.
The complexities of spousal support often make it one of the more difficult issues for trial. This form of spousal support can only be awarded at the time of the divorce. If it is not awarded at the time of the divorce, a former spouse is prohibited from returning to court in the future to obtain maintenance.
There are other issues involved in divorce cases which complicate the matter further including the duration of the payments, when maintenance may terminate and tax implications.
For more information or assistance regarding your divorce and questions related to this form of spousal support, please contact Scott Hamblin online or by telephone at 573-821-4013.