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When will a Missouri court award spousal support?

In Missouri, a court will sometimes award one spouse alimony, also known as spousal support, during a divorce. In many cases alimony may be granted to help ensure that one spouse can maintain a lifestyle close to what they enjoyed during the marriage.

When a couple gets married, it is not uncommon for one spouse to stay at home to take care of the house, do the necessary chores and take care of children. This spouse may have sacrificed his or her career or education to maintain a healthy home for the marriage. It is important to note that alimony is not gender-specific; either the husband or the wife, male or female, may receive spousal support payments, depending on the circumstances of the marriage.

There are several factors that the court will take into consideration when determining whether to award spousal support and the amount that is to be awarded. These include the financial condition of the spouse seeking alimony; their age; their physical and mental condition; the length of the marriage; the previous standard of living during the marriage; the ability of the spouse requesting alimony to earn money to support themselves; and the time necessary for the former spouse to obtain the training or education to rejoin the workforce and support themselves.

It is not always easy for a former spouse who has not been working for years to enter the workforce and earn an adequate income. Courts understand this, and during the divorce proceedings may award spousal support to help the former spouse recover and move on with their life.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed on May 3, 2016

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