Modifiable alimony often is when one spouse makes payments to the other spouse after a divorce without a specific end date. There must be certain qualifying factors that make a spouse eligible. Our family law attorneys explain Missouri alimony laws and qualifying factors for alimony.
Qualifying factors for modifiable alimony in Missouri
Alimony may be awarded in a case where a spouse is unable to support themselves now or in the future. Some qualifying factors may include:
- Age – It would be unreasonable to expect the spouse to rejoin the workforce because of their age
- Health – The health of the spouse makes it impractical for them to work
- Child care and custody – When a spouse has custody of a child with special needs, or when there are other special circumstances surrounding children, they may be unable to work because of their care responsibilities
- Mental health – Mental health difficulties may prevent a spouse from working
- No ability to rehabilitate – If a spouse can gain additional education or job skills, or if current circumstances are likely to change in the future, making the spouse able to work, they may not qualify for alimony. To receive non-term modifiable alimony, it must be unlikely that the spouse can gain employment skills over time or that circumstances will change, allowing employment
- Ability to pay – The party who would pay permanent alimony must have the financial resources to support themselves and the recipient spouse
- Insufficient support – The recipient spouse must not have sufficient alternative resources to support themselves. The court may consider their award of marital assets, as well as any child support, paid that may incidentally also contribute to the other parent’s living expenses
- Standard of living –Alimony is necessary to maintain the spouse in a reasonable standard of living given how the parties lived during the marriage
- Conduct of the parties – If a spouse commits misconduct during the marriage, the court may weigh their behavior against that party as they consider whether to award alimony
- No remarriage – Remarriage of the recipient usually ends alimony payments
The court must look at all the factors and determine that alimony is appropriate. For non-term alimony, the court must decide that the spouse cannot work and that it is unlikely that they will be able to work in the future, even with rehabilitation.
Further, they must decide that the paying spouse can afford to pay alimony. Finally, the support must be necessary for the recipient to make ends meet given their lifestyle during the marriage. There may not be another way for the recipient spouse to meet their needs, either from marital assets, a child support award, or remarriage. When all these circumstances are present, the case may qualify for a non-term alimony award.
Are all the alimony factors weighed the same?
The court does not have to give the same weight to each factor when it decides alimony. They may look at the entire circumstances to determine what is appropriate.
Are marital assets a factor in determining permanent alimony in Missouri?
Missouri law § 452.335(1) directs the court to consider marital property awarded to a party when considering a maintenance order. The court must consider if the spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs. Marital property may be included when the court considers what assets each spouse has at their disposal.
What is the Missouri law for alimony?
Missouri law § 452.080 allows the court to award alimony. In addition, Missouri law § 452.335 lists factors that the court considers when determining alimony. The court must decide the amount and the duration of payments. An award may be subject to modification, or it may be nonmodifiable.
Missouri Attorneys for Alimony
Pursuing alimony is a significant decision. For it to be awarded, certain conditions must be present. The party requesting alimony must make it clear to the court that the case qualifies for it. They must present evidence and legal arguments.
If you have questions about whether your case qualifies for alimony or how to make the request to the court, our attorneys can help. We represent individuals in divorce matters, including claims for alimony. Contact us today.