Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a point of contention in many St. Louis divorce cases. Spousal support matters can be particularly complicated because Missouri law does not provide specific guidelines for determining spousal support rights or obligations. This means that courts have broad discretion to either award or not award alimony.
When spousal maintenance is awarded, the duration is typically left open-ended, meaning that the order will last until death or remarriage. Lifetime alimony is very controversial in a number of states, but it is not that uncommon here, making it very important for parties to alimony disputes to make compelling cases.
In the Northeast, a lawsuit has recently been filed by four divorced men who argue that their state’s alimony laws are unconstitutional. The men, who have all been ordered to pay spousal support as a result of divorce, also claim that the very principle of alimony is outdated. They say that alimony is not necessary in today’s society, as gender roles have evolved and women no longer need to rely on their husbands for financial support.
Additionally, the men argue in their lawsuit that the vagueness of the state’s spousal support laws is problematic. Like Missouri, their state has no clear blueprint of the conditions that call for spousal support. As such, citizens are unaware of the potential financial consequences of marriage and divorce, and thus they are not able to make informed decisions regarding marriage and divorce, according to the allegations in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names the state’s governor as a defendant.
While this lawsuit is gaining media attention, its future remains unknown as alimony reform movements continue to gain momentum in various states.
Here in St. Louis, it remains very important for people to work with experienced attorneys whether they are pursuing alimony or disputing an alimony request.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Divorced Men Call Alimony Unconstitutional,” Christine Stuart, Nov. 15, 2013