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How Long Does Maintenance (Alimony) Last?

By Alisse C. Camazine

When a court determines a spouse should receive maintenance (Missouri’s term for alimony), the next question is how long the maintenance will last. At a trial, the court cannot (except in extremely rare circumstances) include an end date for maintenance, and can only award an amount of support that can be increased or decreased by the court if circumstances change. The court-ordered support will end upon the death of either party, the remarriage of the recipient, or the payor going to court and getting the judge to terminate maintenance.

Termination of maintenance is often requested in circumstances where the recipient spouse has not made a good-faith effort to become self-supporting while receiving maintenance. Modifiable maintenance is predicated upon the receiving spouse making efforts to find work to support him- or herself, and the failure to do so may lead to the reduction or termination of support.

Termination of maintenance may also be requested when the paying spouse has a reduction in income as a result of loss of income or retirement. A paying spouse losing their job or experiencing a decline in income may be a basis for a modification. If the paying spouse can show a significant reduction in income after retirement from what it was when the maintenance was ordered, leading to a reduced ability to meet their own reasonable needs, the maintenance payor will ask the court to reduce or terminate maintenance paid to their ex-spouse.

As with many family law matters, a variety of factors will be at play when discussing termination of maintenance. For any questions, please contact one of the family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.


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