While marriage is generally about new beginnings, divorce is more closely associated with endings. While a divorce certainly ends a marriage, some couples might still associate with one another for several reasons. Things like child custody and support keep some Missouri ex-spouses tied together for several years after, but what about alimony?
Alimony is an important part of family law with which not everyone is pleased. You might even be considering delaying your divorce because you are worried about paying spousal support. Whether you are worried about the costs or the idea of making monthly payments to an ex-spouse, try to keep some of the following in mind.
Factors that affect alimony
How long were you and your ex married? If it was only for a year or two, then you might not have to pay much or anything at all. In general, the longer you were married, the more you might end up paying. For this reason, putting off filing for divorce might not be the best idea.
The court will also consider if your ex works. If they do, then the court will look at the difference between your incomes. If they do not, you could have to pay rehabilitative alimony, which often involves paying for things like job retraining. This is usually temporary and is meant to help your ex re-enter the workforce, which will make him or her less reliant on you for those monthly alimony checks.
Can I change my payments?
You should not have to take on the burden of an alimony order that is too high. However, you cannot try to get out of those payments by quitting your job and temporarily living with someone else. Courts generally do not smile kindly upon these types of actions.
If you cannot afford the amount that the court ordered, you should seek a modification as soon as you possibly can. Courts will usually acknowledge that a change is necessary if your income decreased or you lost your job, but other extenuating circumstances can also apply.
Are monthly payments my only option?
Monthly payments are perhaps the most common method for alimony, but you have other choices. If this setup does not work, you can offer to buy out your ex's share of the family home or other major asset. A redistribution of marital assets can sometimes be a better alternative, too.
Ideally, you want to approach alimony negotiations from a place of strength ready to compromise where necessary. However, things can quickly go wrong if your ex is not on the same page. Working alongside an experienced Missouri attorney can be a good idea in these situations, as it is almost always helpful to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side.