Spousal support payments, commonly know as alimony, are payments from one spouse to the other.

After a divorce, the spouse that makes more money will be required to make payments to their ex-spouse for a set amount of time, either agreed upon by the couple or determined by a judge.

What is the purpose of alimony?

The intended purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses depart the marriage with fair financial grounding.

Alimony was first introduced when women traditionally stayed home with the children while their husbands went to work and made all the money. If the couple divorced, the woman would be left with no money and no means to get financial security. Times have changed.

Who receives alimony?

Now, both spouses work or one parent—mom or dad—stays home with the children. The parent that makes less money is the one who receives alimony.

The amount of money and length of time may be determined by a judge, based on these factors:

  • Recipient’s need
  • Spouses ability to pay
  • Lifestyle the recipient is accustomed to
  • Length of marriage

It is important to note that alimony and child support payments are not the same. Child support payments are made by the non-custodial parent regardless of their financial situation.

There are cases when one spouse must pay both child support and alimony.

Opposition to alimony

Some people—both men and women—are opposed to alimony. One dad claims that the process is outdated. The father pays his ex-wife alimony payments of $1,000 a month and may have to do so for the rest of his life.

Because of this, the man asserts that alimony payments should expire five years after divorce. He noted that child support payments are required for a maximum of 18 years while alimony payments have no limit.

In Missouri, the length of time that a spouse must pay alimony is determined by a judge. Understanding what to expect may help you plan for the hearing.