Bezler Law Firm is a family law firm well versed with issues of alimony, now called maintenance or spousal support. In the state of Missouri, alimony or maintenance payments may be awarded to either spouse if the court finds certain conditions exist. Such conditions for maintenance include but are not limited to, that the spouse seeking spousal support lacks sufficient property or income to provide for his or her reasonable needs, is unable to support themselves 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 of the home.
Courts determine alimony or maintenance awards based on factors such as:
- The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance including marital property awarded to them, and their ability to meet needs independently including any provisions for child support for that party as custodian;
- Time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment;
- Comparative earning capability of each spouse;
- Standard of living established during the marriage;
- Obligations and assets of each party;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- Ability of the obligated spouse to meet his or her other needs while meeting the needs of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
- Other factors that the court deems relevant.
If the spouse receiving alimony remarries, the spouse paying alimony is generally relieved of that obligation. In Missouri alimony is treated differently from child support payments from a tax perspective. Alimony is tax deductible for the person who pays it and is taxable income for the person who receives it. Child support is neither tax deductible nor taxable.
Missouri’s courts have wide discretion in determining whether or not spousal support should be awarded and the amount and duration of spousal support as well. Spousal support is not an absolute right, and the party requesting maintenance has the burden to prove to the court that they are in need of help from the former spouse in order to provide for their reasonable needs.
In the past, most alimony awards were made to female homemakers who needed support from their former husbands. Today marriages often consist of two wage earners and more men assume child-rearing duties. As a result, maintenance awards to men are becoming more common. If you need advice or have any questions about receiving or potentially paying an alimony determination, contact Bezler Law Firm and let us walk you through all of the possible outcomes of a maintenance award.