On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, September 17, 2015.
According to Missouri law, maintenance ends when the spouse who receives the support remarries. There are exceptions to this rule. One exception is if the couple agrees otherwise, and that agreement is made an order of the court. Another exception is if the recipient spouse is in a domestic partnership, as opposed to a legal marriage.
The purpose of maintenance, or spousal support, is to limit any negative economic effects the divorce may have on a spouse who earns less money or does not have an income. In this sense, maintenance is rehabilitative. It is intended to help the recipient spouse until he or she can become self-supporting. For this reason, an award of maintenance ends when the recipient spouse remarries.
The key here is whether the recipient spouse actually got married again. In a recent case, a Missouri court ruled that a domestic partnership does not end maintenance.
In that case, a wife was receiving maintenance from her former husband. The wife entered into a new relationship. She and her new partner held a ceremony that appeared to be a marriage ceremony. However, the person who presided over the ceremony did not have any authority to perform the marriage, and there was no marriage license. Consequently, the court held that even though the wife was in a committed relationship and lived with her partner, they were not legally married. Therefore, the former husband was obligated to continue paying maintenance to his ex-wife.
If you would like to terminate your maintenance payments, consider speaking with a family law attorney. Under Missouri law, maintenance can be modified or terminated if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Each case is different. The attorney can help you determine whether a court is likely to grant your request to modify or terminate the award.