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Alimony: Is it a punishment?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2022 | High Asset Divorce |

When you think about getting divorced, do you imagine not having to talk to your spouse anymore? Do you think about having a clean separation where neither of you have to interact in the future?

If you do, then the idea of having to pay alimony may be one that you don’t care for. Alimony, to you, may feel like a punishment. In reality, alimony is not intended to punish someone, though.

Sometimes, a lesser-earning spouse needs help

The point of alimony is to assist a lesser-earning spouse keep the same standard of living that they were able to have during the marriage.

In Missouri, you may have to pay an order of spousal maintenance if your spouse earns less than you and needs support while looking for full-time employment, raising your child or seeking an education. Though it is somewhat rare, permanent alimony is still possible. Normally, this is only used when people have been married for a very long time and when returning to the workforce would be unlikely.

Who is eligible for spousal maintenance in Missouri?

A court may grant spousal maintenance to any spouse who lacks sufficient property to provide for their own reasonable needs. It may also be awarded to someone who can’t support themselves with employment or because of needing to take care of their children and being unable to seek part-time or full-time employment as a result.

Before awarding alimony, the court will go over facts about the case such as how long the couple has been married and what kind of property has been apportioned to the lesser-earning spouse. The comparative earning capacity of each spouse, their ages and their ability to continue working or look for work is also important.

If you do not want to pay alimony and believe it may be ordered in your case, you do have options. You may want to give a greater portion of your marital assets to your spouse, for example, or opt for a lump-sum payout if allowed. There are different approaches that may help you have a clean break even if alimony is owed.