Purpose of Maintenance/Alimony in Divorce

Maintenance (f/k/a as alimony) consists of payments made from one ex-spouse to the other ex-spouse after the marriage has ended. It is founded on the need for reasonable support by one spouse after the end of the marriage, and a maintenance award may extend only so long as the need exists. Cates v. Cates, 819 S.W.2d 731, 734-35 (Mo. 1991). Maintenance is issued only for support until the dependent spouse achieves a reasonable level of self-sufficiency. What this looks like can very greatly depending on the facts of a particular case because what constitutes a “reasonable level of self-sufficiency” is relative. Maintenance cannot be awarded for the purposes of building an estate or the accumulation of capital. Hill v. Hill, 53 S.W.3d 114, 116 (Mo. 2001). 
There needs to be specific factual and legal determinations made before a court can enter an award of maintenance. A court may grant a maintenance order if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance (1) lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs and is (2) unable to support himself/herself through appropriate employment. Section 452.335, RSMo.
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