St Louis Spousal Support Lawyer
Spousal support, also referred to as maintenance, often becomes an issue in divorce or separation proceedings. Although awarding spousal support is not required in a divorce or separation agreement under state law, it is most commonly associated with the termination of marriages. Family law judges have great discretion in establishing or modifying spousal support and must consider many different factors before making a final decision.
If you are on the cusp of a divorce or separation and think you should be entitled to spousal support or maintenance, then consider contacting a family law advocate from our team. A St. Louis spousal support lawyer could also help you make changes to an existing maintenance order. Regardless of your circumstances, working with a professional advisor can improve your odds of achieving a favorable outcome and provide you with greater peace of mind.
How Maintenance is Determined
Anyone seeking spousal support in St. Louis must prove that they have insufficient funds to meet their reasonable needs and that they are unable to meet those needs through employment. It is a claimant’s responsibility to prove that financial assistance of some kind is necessary following their divorce or separation.
Factors that a judge may consider when making a spousal support or maintenance determination include:
- The length of the parties’ marriage
- How the couple’s marital assets and liabilities are being divided
- The ages and health of the spouses
- Both parties’ present and future earning capacities
- Whether the spouse seeking support requires additional education or training to secure gainful employment
- The child custody arrangement, if any
- Whether and to what extent the spouse seeking support has contributed as a homemaker or parent during the course of the marriage
- The reasonable needs of the spouse seeking support
- The ability to pay by the spouse paying support
Awarding Spousal Support
Maintenance can be awarded in several different ways. For example, contractual non-modifiable maintenance is set up to end at a pre-determined date or can be a lump sum. Alternatively, modifiable maintenance is where open-ended payments continue indefinitely until the recipient either passes away or gets married, or until the order is modified or terminated by the court. A professional advocate from our team can be an integral ally in attempting to obtain alimony payments.
Modifying Support Payments
A spousal support order can be modified at the request of the paying or receiving spouse, as long as they are able to prove that there has been a significant and continuous change in circumstances. The defining factors for qualifying change in circumstances is case-specific and ultimately up to court. Examples of qualifying circumstances include:
- Sudden job loss
- Major illness or injury that inhibits one’s earning capacity
- Cost of living increase
Demonstrating that a significant change in circumstances has occurred can be very difficult without the help of a St. Louis maintenance attorney. An advocate may also be able to help with the enforcement of a spousal maintenance order through wage garnishment, contempt of court actions, and other means.
Speak with a St. Louis Spousal Support Attorney Today
Spousal support is designed to help one party to a divorce or separation meet their reasonable financial needs. This can be a contentious issue both during and after the divorce or separation process is over. For this reason, you should contact a St. Louis spousal support lawyer if you have any questions about your legal rights and options as they pertain to either receiving or paying alimony.