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Spousal Maintenance/Alimony in Kansas and Missouri

Sept. 24, 2019

In Kansas, maintenance (spousal support or alimony) is neither a right nor a entitlement. Kansas court exercise broad discretion in determining both the amount and duration of any spousal support. Kansas courts may not order more than 121 months of maintenance, regardless of the length of the marriage.

Generally, marital fault is not a factor to consider when determining if maintenance is appropriate or the duration of it. However, Courts have, on rare occasion, allowed consideration of marital fault when a party's conduct is so gross and extreme that failure to penalize would be inequitable.

Generally, the purposes of maintenance are:

1. To help mitigate an economic imbalance in present or future earning capacity and financial well-being in light of the particular facts of the case; and

2. To assist in the rehabilitation of a divorcing spouse's ability to appropriately support themselves in the future.

The initial factors to consider when determining whether maintenance is appropriate are:

1. The economic needs of one spouse; and

2. The ability of the other spouse to pay maintenance.

If the division of assets, the parties' respective incomes, or other factors suggest that both parties will have the financial ability to appropriately support themselves without payment of maintenance, then it is a fair question whether any maintenance is justified. Generally, If both parties are nearly equally needy, neither party should pay maintenance.

The following factors are most relevant to determine whether maintenance in Kansas is appropriate:

1. The parties' needs and overall financial situation;

2. The present and prospective earning capacities of the parties:

3. The length of the marriage;

4. Property owned by the parties, regardless of source;

5. The ages of the parties;

6. The contribution or sacrifices by one party to aid the other's education or career;

7. The retraining or education needs of one or both of the parties;

8. The number of years a party has been absent from the job market and the reason for the absence;

9. The parties' skills and ability to reenter the job market; and

10. Unusual or unique health or medical needs.

In Missouri, it is more difficult to obtain maintenance than in Kansas. Maintenance will only be ordered when one spouse has inadequate income to pay for living expenses and the other party is financially able to provide support.

If the court finds that it is appropriate to award maintenance, it will consider the following factors to determine the amount and duration:

1. The financial resources of the dependent spouse, including any property awarded;

2. The time necessary for the dependent spouse to obtain further education and training;

3. Each spouse's earning capacity;

4. The standard of living established during the marriage;

5. The duration of the marriage;

6. Each spouse's assets and debts;

7. Each spouse's conduct during the marriage; and

8. The age, physical condition, and emotional condition of the spouse requesting maintenance; and

9. The ability of the other spouse to pay maintenance.