St. Louis, MO (PressExposure) June 02, 2008 -- Alimony, maintenance or spousal support is an obligation established by law in many countries that is based on the premise that both spouses have an absolute obligation to support each other during the marriage or civil union unless they are legally separated. In some instances, the obligation to support may continue after separation or divorce.
Once dissolution proceedings begin, either of the spouse may seek interim or pendente lite support during the course of the litigation. Where a divorce or dissolution of marriage or civil union is granted, either party may ask for post-marital alimony. It is not an absolute right, but may be granted, the amount and terms varying with the circumstances. Learn more about this with the St. Louis divorce attorney.
If one party is already receiving support at the time of the divorce, the previous order is not automatically continued (although this can be requested), as the arguments for support during and after the marriage can be different.
Unless the parties agree on the terms of their divorce in a binding written instrument, the court will make a fair determination based on the legal argument and the testimony submitted by both parties. This can be modified at any future date based on a change of circumstances by either party on proper notice to the other party and application to the court.
The courts are generally reluctant to modify an existing agreement unless the reasons are compelling. In some jurisdictions the court always has jurisdiction to grant maintenance should one of the former spouses become a public charge. Visit the St. Louis divorce attorney to learn more about this.
Alimony is treated very differently from child support in the United States with respect to taxation. Alimony is treated as income to the receiving spouse, and deducted from the income of the paying spouse.
If a party fails to pay alimony, there are not generally any special legal options available to the party that is owed money. In many jurisdictions, people whose child support obligations go into arrears can have licenses seized, in a few states they can even be imprisoned. But in some states, if someone is unable to pay all of their alimony, they will be found in contempt of court and placed in jail. For more information, visit the St. Louis divorce attorney.