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Alimony in Missouri; don't count on it

8572958_S.jpgWhen some couples divorce, the question of alimony may arise. Alimony, or maintenance as it is known in Missouri, is being awarded to more men, as some women now out-earn their husbands. Unsurprisingly, women are no different from men when it comes to their dislike of paying maintenance to their former spouse.

A recent study finds an increase in the percent of men receiving alimony nationwide increased 0.5 percent, but still only accounts for about 3 percent of the total alimony recipients.

Alimony is becoming more uncommon, having fallen from being awarded in about 25 percent of divorce cases in the 1960s to only about 10 percent currently. Maintenance can still be awarded in Missouri, however, the preference is for the dependent spouse to return to the workforce.

It is often awarded for a limited time, to allow a dependent spouse to obtain training or return to school to obtain the skills necessary to earn a viable income.

There is a statutory list of factors a judge will consider when determining the need and duration of maintenance and you can discuss these factors with your divorce attorney. By working through these factors, you can likely determine the potential for maintenance in your divorce.

In a long-term marriage, where one spouse remained home and never worked, there is a greater likelihood of maintenance being granted than if both spouses had jobs and worked for the majority of the marriage.

Nevertheless, with rare exceptions, whether male or female, you should not expect permanent alimony would be part of your divorce. This is another reason why your property settlement is important, as it may be the final parameter, creating much of the foundation for your economic future.

Source: time.com, "Breadwinning Women Are Driving Alimony Reform," Beth Pinsker, Reuters, November 17, 2015

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