Springfield Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is sometimes awarded in the dissolution of a Missouri marriage to help a divorcing spouse in need of financial assistance or support. Gone are the days when alimony was awarded as a matter of course in every divorce, or when the judge would routinely order the husband to pay alimony to the wife. If you are seeking spousal support in your Missouri divorce, be prepared to prove it, and expect that your spouse might challenge or oppose your request. At Courtney & Mills, our experienced Springfield spousal support attorneys can help you understand what you can expect in your divorce when it comes to maintenance. We’ll take the time to understand your needs and your situation, and we’ll put together a strong case and advocate forcefully on your behalf, whether you are the spouse seeking maintenance or the one being asked to pay.
The spouse requesting support must prove it is needed
It’s up to the spouse asking the judge to award maintenance to prove to the court that spousal support is necessary. Criteria that might justify spousal support include:
- The spouse does not have enough property to meet reasonable needs, after taking into account the spouse’s share of marital property granted in the property division
- The spouse cannot become self-supporting through employment
- The spouse cannot work due to needing to stay at home and care for the children
The family court judge decides what amount of support would be appropriate
If the court concludes that an award of spousal support is proper, the judge will consider a number of different factors in determining the amount of support. These factors include:
- The duration of the marriage
- The ages of the spouses and children
- The health of the spouses
- Each spouse’s earnings and relative earning capacity
- Property owned by each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Any instances of marital misconduct
Spousal Support can be for a limited duration or indefinite
Like other matters in a divorce, spousal support does not have to be decided by the judge; instead, the parties themselves can come to an agreement on how to deal with the issue of support. If they decide that support will be paid for a number of years, that agreement will be incorporated in the divorce decree, and support will terminate on the expected date. However, when the parties don’t agree on support, and the judge ultimately decides that spousal support is appropriate, the court won’t put any end date on it. Instead, judicially-imposed orders of maintenance stay in effect until either the paying spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
Likewise, whether or not an award for spousal support can be modified due to changed circumstances depends on whether the order was made modifiable or nonmodifiable when it was created. If modifiable, the amount of support could be raised or lowered, or the award could be ended early or extended past when it was set to expire, assuming the party requesting the modification presents compelling evidence of changed circumstances that convinces the judge to modify the award. We handle cases where the paying spouse needs to modify or terminate spousal maintenance.
Call Courtney & Mills to Discuss the Issue of Spousal Support in Your Springfield Divorce
If you expect to need support after your divorce or are concerned you will be ordered to pay maintenance to your former spouse, call the Springfield spousal support attorneys Courtney & Mills at 417-869-9888. Part of our job is to educate you about the law and the possible outcomes in your case, as well as formulate an effective strategy to help you meet your goals.