Modification of Maintenance appropriate on Voluntary Retirement and Increase in Resources of Obligee; No entitlement to attorney fees just because of lesser income.
Recent Case: Wife appeals Judgment of the Circuit Court modifying her spousal maintenance award and denial of attorney fees
Statutes base maintenance on, and limit it to, need, and allow modification when a substantial and continuing change in circumstances make the initial award unfair. Such change may include involuntary retirement, on which the record supports the circuit court’s findings, with evidence that partnership agreement required retirement and that further employment would be expensive. It may also include an increase in obligee’s resources, on which the record supports the circuit court’s findings, with evidence that obligee receives a monthly payment from obligor’s annuity and that obligee’s income is increasing.
Statutes assign authority to award attorney fees to circuit court exclusively. Nothing entitles a party of lesser income, having sufficient resources to pay their lawyer, to an award of attorney fees.
Judgment Affirmed on other grounds
FB v. LB
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
Filed May 24, 2016