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Can I get alimony in a Missouri divorce?

The answer is that most lawyerly of answers: it depends. Alimony, or as it is called in the Missouri statutes, maintenance, is available, but it is dependent on the analysis of numerous factors by the family court judge.

Also variable is whether it will be modifiable and when it will terminate. The judge will examine two factors to first, which relates to lack of property or assets to provide for his or her needs and cannot support him or herself with employment or needs to care for a child.

If these factors result in the determination to order maintenance in the divorce, then the judge needs to evaluate additional factors, which includes 10 specified factors, to determine the amount and the duration of the payments.

These factors cover such things as the time needed by a spouse to obtain the education or training necessary to get a job, the spouses earning capacity, the standard of living during the marriage, how the marital assets were divided, including debts, how long they were married, their age and health, how maintenance payments will affect their ability to meet their needs, their conduct during the marriage, and a catch-all, and other relevant factors.

The easy cases are at the extremes. A couple who has only been married two or three years, have no children and who are both employed and earn similar incomes are unlikely to receive any maintenance award.

At the other extreme, a couple married for 40 years, where the husband had a job with significant income while the wife stayed home, never worked and raised the children, is likely to see maintenance awarded to the wife.

In the middle, you will need your divorce attorney to go through each factor and explain with as much evidence as possible why it support your claim for maintenance. The order may be modifiable or nonmodifiable and can be set to terminate on a specific date or event. And in most cases, remarriage by either party will terminate the maintenance.

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