All About Alimony: How Long Does Spousal Support Last?


Many states use the term alimony when referring to spousal support.  In the state of Missouri, it is referred to as maintenance. The purpose of spousal support is to ensure that one of lesser financial means will not suffer undue hardship when the marriage is over. How long this maintenance continues depends on the type of alimony a judge orders. 

A judge will award spousal support only if the party requesting it can show cause. Keep in mind that maintenance is gender neutral; either spouse can ask for it. The spouse making the request must prove:

  • they are not financially independent through employment;
  • they are the custodial parent of a minor child who has needs that make it unrealistic for the parent to work outside the home; and/or
  • they lack sufficient property, marital and otherwise, to provide for their own needs.

Alimony ends if the supported spouse remarries, or if either one dies. 

Otherwise, when maintenance payments stop depends on many particulars, monetary and personal. The judge will examine both parties’ financial needs, earning capability and owned property. They will consider the length of the marriage, the marital standard of living, and the requesting spouse’s age, physical and emotional condition. Each spouse’s conduct during the marriage can also come into play. 

Ultimately, the judge has broad discretion in deciding what if any support payment agreement is fair. Ask your divorce attorney for guidance and options. 

With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today for any questions or to set up a consultation.