Maintenance, formally referred to as alimony, is a payment awarded as part of a divorce proceeding, usually as a monthly payment, from one spouse to another with the intent of supporting the receiving spouse financially.
Maintenance may be ordered by the court in various situations including where there is a large discrepancy in the earnings between the spouses so that the parties end up having a similar standard of living after the divorce.
Factors in Calculating Maintenance and Amount Awarded
The Missouri Statute for maintenance provides a two-tier test. The initial test for a party to be entitled to some level of maintenance is for the court to determine that the spouse seeking maintenance:
Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to her, to provide for her reasonable needs; and
Is unable to support herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
In many cases the spouse seeking maintenance can prove a need for an amount of maintenance that simply cannot be paid by the other spouse.
Once it is determined that a spouse may be entitled to some level of maintenance, some of the factors that the court may consider in determining whether maintenance will be ordered and the amount of the award include the following:
The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including income and marital property apportioned to her and her ability to meet her needs independently.
The paying spouse’s ability to pay and the receiving spouse’s need for support.
The comparative earning capacity of each spouse.
The couple’s standard of living while they were married.
The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to her 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.
For maintenance there is not a mathematical formula that is the presumed amount of maintenance, unlike child support. Maintenance instead is calculated on a case by case basis.
Modifications to Maintenance Orders
Subsequent to the divorce judgment, a party can file a motion to modify the prior maintenance order unless the prior maintenance order is non-modifiable. The party filing the motion to modify must prove to the court that since the date the prior judgment was entered there has been a change in circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the prior judgment unreasonable. The loss of the paying spouse’s job or the illness of either party resulting in the permanent loss of income may be some of the many possible changes in circumstances.
Consult A St. Louis Divorce Attorney
Maintenance can be one of the most vigorously contested parts of a divorce proceeding. Judges have some discretion in deciding whether to enter a maintenance order or the amount of maintenance, and either party can contest the other party’s request for or against maintenance. A maintenance order has the potential to carry repercussions that can last for years.
Therefore, it is in a party’s best interest to retain an experienced, assertive divorce attorney to assist them in pursuing a favorable outcome. The Galmiche Law Firm has assisted many clients over thirty (30) years in pursuing favorable results for maintenance, and we can help in your divorce as well. Contact our office to arrange a free consultation to discuss your situation. We can be reached at (636) 532-2300 or click here.