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Kansas City Divorce Lawyer - (816) 454-5600


MAINTENANCE (ALIMONY):  Maintenance (Alimony) can be an issue in cases depending on the difference of income.  There are several factors that the court looks at in determining if maintenance should be paid.  Those factors are as follows:


  1. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him/her and the ability to meet his/her needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
  2. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
  3. The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  5. The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him/her and the separate property of each party;
  6. The duration of the marriage;
  7. The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  8. The ability of the spouse form whom maintenance is sought to meet his/her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  9. The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
  10. Any other relevant factors.



Different Judges also have different standards that they follow for determining whether or not maintenance is even going to be considered.  The overriding factor is typically, however, the difference in income of the parties and duration of the marriage.  The court also looks at whether or not the person might be underemployed.  If an individual has intentionally remained unemployed or underemployed, yet has the wherewithal to become gainfully employed and self-supporting, then the court may “impute” income to that individual.


The court can also look at the division of assets in determining whether maintenance should be ordered.  For example, if one party receives a significant amount of money, then the court can look at the potential interest or dividend income that an individual might receive from those assets.


When the court awards maintenance, it is typically “periodic modifiable maintenance”.  This means that the maintenance is paid until the court modifies it by one party filing a “motion to modify” upon a change of circumstances.  The court may look at whether or not the receiving party has had an increase in income or perhaps the paying party has had a decrease in income.  If the decrease in income by the paying party is voluntary, then that is typically not a reason to modify maintenance.  The party receiving maintenance also has the legal obligation to attempt to become self-supporting.  This can include searching for a better paying job or if the party is working part-time at the time of the divorce then that party would have an obligation to look for full-time employment, unless perhaps there are minor children in the home which would make it difficult to work a full-time job.


With respect to maintenance, the court can also order “lump sum maintenance”.  This is maintenance for a period of time (i.e. to allow one party to finish school, etc.).  If there is some indication that the party will become self-supporting within a certain amount of time, then the court may enter maintenance for that period of time.

In rare cases the Court can award “non-modifiable maintenance.”  These cases are few and far between because there typically has to be evidence that neither party’s situation will change in the future.  As you can imagine, that is very hard to predict.