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Help! I need maintenance.

So you need maintenance or alimony. Perhaps you have been a stay at home mom for many years. Maybe you are underemployed while your spouse earns a substantial income. Where should you start?

Start with a written, well-defined monthly budget. Figure out how much you need to live on every month. Be conservative. You don't get maintenance in order to continue to go to the nail salon, belong to the country club, or to take great vacations like you did during the marriage. What is your monthly shortfall?

Second, make a budget for the would-be maintenance payer. Allow some leeway for unexpected repairs and expenses. He (or she) isn't required to live in an efficiency apartment just to be able to pay you maintenance. Can he (or she) afford to pay your needed monthly shortfall? If not, do you need to work more or does one or both of you need to cut your monthly expenses? Go back to the budgets for each of you until you can come up with a reasonable number. Also, consider the idea of cash being awarded to you in lieu of maintenance. Sometimes a bigger cash settlement can meet both parties' needs without the need for maintenance.

While the law is complicated and there are many factors associated with paying and receiving maintenance in its most basic form it comes down to monthly budgets for both of you. For more information call a good family law lawyer who has experience with maintenance in Missouri.