Maintenance (previously termed as alimony) can be ordered when the financial needs of one party are greater than that they can meet on their own. The Courts have wide discretion whether maintenance should be awarded, and if so at what amount and duration. Factors the court considers in determining whether to order maintenance (from Missouri Revised Statute §452.335:
- In a proceeding for nonretroactive invalidity, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order to either spouse, but only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
(1) Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable needs; and
(2) Is unable to support himself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
- The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors including:
(1) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
(2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
(3) The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;
(4) The standard of living established during the marriage;
(5) The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him and the separate property of each party;
(6) The duration of the marriage;
(7) The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(8) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(9) The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
(10) Any other relevant factors.
If the court orders maintenance, this can be modifiable or non-modifiable. The court can order maintenance to terminate upon a specific event or date. Parties may also agree to the amount and duration of the maintenance award. The duration of Court ordered statutory maintenance is periodic in nature, thus continues until the court modifies the order or as defined, upon the payor’s death, upon the payee’s death or upon the payee’s remarriage. Upon showing of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, modifiable maintenance may be decreased, increased, terminated, extended, or otherwise modified based upon a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.
Missed maintenance payments may result in judgments enforced by Court filing a motion for contempt. If the non-paying party is found to be in contempt of court, the non-paying spouse may be punished with payment of attorney fees/costs, fines, relinquishment of licenses held and possibly imprisonment.