Divorce is frightening, especially if you are a dependent spouse. If you have stayed home to take care of the house or raise children, you may not have much earning potential or any personal assets to support yourself with when you leave your spouse.
Your entire household has benefited for years from your unpaid work, which now becomes a liability for you. Is it possible for you to ask the Missouri courts for spousal maintenance when you file for divorce or during contested divorce proceedings?
Missouri law does permit spousal maintenance requests
The Missouri family courts can order spousal maintenance, which some people call spousal support or alimony. In order to determine if they should order support, how much it should be and how long it should last, they look at your family circumstances. You can also look at the factors the courts consider to help decide if your request will likely succeed.
What factors influence spousal maintenance decisions in Missouri?
One of the most important considerations will be the contributions each spouse made to the marriage and the ability of each spouse to support themselves. They will consider both earning income and the spouse’s share of the marital estate when looking at economic circumstances.
The courts will also consider the standard of living that a spouse enjoyed during the marriage, how long you stayed married, how long it would take you to re-enter the workforce and your health. Many times, support orders will last only long enough for someone to seek education or job experience that will allow them to support themselves. The spousal maintenance may have an end date, although in some cases, it can be permanent.
Maintenance payments can potentially start when you file for divorce or separate, although you can wait until you go to court to request it. The courts will set an amount based on your need and on your ex’s ability to pay. They will also indicate whether either spouse has the right to ask for modification in the future.
Although it can require extra documentation and work on your part, seeking spousal support as part of a Missouri divorce filing can help you become more independent in the long run.