Attorney fee expenses cannot be considered part of reasonable monthly expenses in maintenance modification
Recent case: Attorney fees are not a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that supports a modification of maintenance, especially when the fees are for the modification case.
Husband appeals the judgment modifying the divorce decree increasing his maintenance obligation from $4000 to $4400 per month.
Holding: Reversed and remanded to trial Court
The trial court erred in including attorney fees in its calculation of Wife’s reasonable monthly expenses. In order to modify maintenance, the Court must find that there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances from when the order was originally entered. Because the trial Court based its findings that Wife was unable to meet her reasonable needs on a calculation that was incorrect because it included attorney fees, the case was reversed and remanded back to the trial Court for reconsideration of whether a substantial and continuing change in circumstances exists, without the consideration of attorney fees, to grant a motion to modify.
Missouri Court of Appeals
Eastern District ED99952
Filed February 10, 2015