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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 111450
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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In Missouri, if I have a nonmodifiable maintenance award

Customer Question

In Missouri, if I have a nonmodifiable maintenance award that I am paying to my ex-wife and the
Decree is silent as to marriage or cohabitation terminating it, marriage will terminate, but will cohabitation?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
MO RSA 452.075, was modified in 2014 to state that upon cohabitation for more than 90 consecutive days spousal support would terminate. See: http://www.senate.mo.gov/14info/pdf-bill/intro/SB552.pdf
So, the MO law says support should terminate at cohabitation or marriage.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your response, but this is only a Senate Bill. Was it ever enacted, and does it apply to "nonmodifiable mainentance?" I can't see where it was ever enacted or passed.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It was passed and signed into law and it is part of the new laws, which was why I gave it to you. It applies to all spousal support, it does not make any differentiation in the law.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I looked up 452.075 as of August 2015 and it does not show the change?? Tell me if you want me to call you and will pay the extra charge and we can discuss it.
Thank you very much!!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Here is the Senate page showing the bill was passed and signed into law: http://openstates.org/mo/bills/2014/SB552/
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. I may sign in to call you in a couple of hours, because I am still confused that I can not pull up the revised statute itself.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
I will send you a phone offer so you can accept it if you want a call.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for offer, but I checked with State, and this bill never passed!!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
The information I sent you says otherwise, said it was signed into law, so I do not know why they said that. However, if the state is insisting it never passed, there is still an option to you.
The MO courts hold that cohabitation ALONE is not sufficient to terminate non-modifiable support, BUT the court can terminate that support if there is proof that the party she is cohabitating with is sharing with expenses and providing any type of support to her. See: Hopkins v. Hopkins (MO 2014) (http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=80936)
So you would have to file in court and prove what the court requires, that she is cohabitating and the person is providing her some type of sharing of expenses or support for living with her. That is the only other way to change the support award.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks again, but in that case the decree did not have a non-modifiable maintenance order. It was open ended.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

I understand your case is a little different in that it is non-modifiable, but it still stands for the proposition that the court has the right and discretion to consider she is now getting support elsewhere and if you prove that the court can still seek to change it (the courts do not generally favor non-modifiable support so if you give them sufficient good cause they can exercise discretion, it is VERY difficult to get done, but not impossible depending on how much support her cohabitant is providing for her). I am not going to lie to you and say it is easy or automatic, it is not and you are taking a shot at this that is going to require a high burden of proof on your part that she is being supported by someone else.

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