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Modifying spousal maintenance (alimony) in Missouri

When your marriage ends, the judge may order you to pay alimony, which is known as spousal maintenance in Missouri. While these support payments may make sense during and immediately after your divorce, they may not remain viable for long.

You may understand that your stay-at-home ex-spouse needs initial financial support, but this is not always sensible in the months or years following your separation. Here is some helpful information on how to pursue a maintenance modification in Missouri. 

Changes in the circumstances of your ex

While your former spouse may struggle to financially support him or herself right away, this often does not last. Eventually, he or she may have the funds necessary to make a living without your help. Some ways you can prove your spouse does not need your payments include the following:

  • An increased income
  • Cohabitation with a new partner
  • Remarriage

These are just some of the changes in circumstances that may impact your alimony responsibilities. 

Changes in your own circumstances

Your finances may change over time and may affect your ability to fulfill the court order. The following are some possibilities:

  • An involuntary job termination or layoff
  • Wage reduction
  • Business failure
  • Recent retirement
  • Increase in the cost of living
  • A disability or illness that impacts your ability to earn money

However, until you successfully get a new order from the court, you should fulfill your legal obligations as much as possible. 

Burden of proof

Generally, the person seeking a modification bears the burden of proof under Missouri law. If you wish to reduce or terminate your maintenance payments, you must provide the court with substantial evidence of a change in finances that renders the order untenable. 

It can be frustrating to be on the hook for supportive payments when they are no longer reasonable. If you think it is necessary to alter or end alimony payments, file a petition with the court.

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