Creve Coeur & O'Fallon, MO Spousal Support Attorneys
Duties of spousal support tend to provoke deep resentment for both the party seeking support and the party receiving support. Psychologically, spousal support creates a dependency relationship and creates a variety of negative emotions and behavioral incentives. For that reason, Missouri takes the view that individuals should be presumed self-sufficient and it is the burden of the party seeking support to show that self-sufficient is, well, not sufficient under the circumstances.
Is spousal support automatic given a certain number of years of marriage, a certain number of children, or a certain income of a spouse? No – but those factors, together with others, could tilt the balance in favor of some sort of support.
Is spousal support a lifetime obligation? No – generally, spousal support is modifiable and is not intended as a punitive act but a temporary bridge between divorce and self-sufficiency.
In Missouri, each spouse is expected to take all reasonable steps to secure adequate employment and become or remain self-sufficient. However, in some marriages, given the disparity of incomes or the absence of one spouse from the workforce for a lengthy period of time, one spouse may not be self-sufficient. If the court finds that one spouse lacks adequate property to support his or her reasonable needs, and is unable to support oneself through appropriate employment, the court may award that spouse maintenance.
In considering the amount and the duration of the award, the court must consider the financial resources of each party; the time necessary to acquire sufficient training or education to obtain appropriate employment; the comparative earning capacity of each spouse; the standard of living established during the marriage; the obligations and assets of each party; the duration of the marriage; the age and physical and emotional condition of the party seeking maintenance; the ability of the spouse who would pay maintenance to do so and meet his or her own obligations; and the conduct of the parties during the marriage.
Maintenance awards may be modifiable or not modifiable. If modifiable, a party may in the future return to court and ask that the amount be reduced or the obligation terminated because, for example, the party receiving maintenance no longer needs the additional support or the party paying maintenance can no longer afford to pay the support.
Maintenance can be very challenging because of the variety of factors, and each marriage is unique. The law favors self-sufficiency, so the party seeking maintenance has to prove real need. Also, the law will not allow a party to remain unemployed or underemployed, nor will it unduly burden the other party with an amount it deems unreasonable.
As you can see from the issues to resolve, the process is not just a short set of simple, self-executing rules, but involves many complex and often difficult questions of proof. Only a skilled and experienced attorney can properly advise you as to your rights with regard to spousal support and protect those rights in a legal proceeding.
At The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C, we have over fifty years of combined experience handling family law matters. We help individuals understand their rights with regard to all issues, including spousal support. We do all required discovery, draft marital settlement agreements and try your case before the judge if we cannot reach a settlement. We have handled hundreds of trials before family court judges; if you choose The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C., you will have the benefit of a St. Louis family law attorney unafraid to go to court, advocate on your behalf and fully present your case.
Time to Act
Time is of the essence. As soon as you select The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. to represent you, we will immediately put our considerable experience and resources to work on your case. The sooner we can review the necessary information, the sooner we can formulate a strategy for your unique circumstances, helping to ensure the best possible outcome.
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