Spousal support awarded in 6.5 year marriage; Increase in value of non-marital property during marriage is marital if increase comes from marital assets
Recent case from the Court of Appeals:
Husband appeals from the trial court’s judgment, dissolving his marriage Wife, dividing the parties’ marital property, and ordering him to pay maintenance. On appeal, Husband asserts that the trial court erroneously considered Wife’s physical and emotional condition in granting maintenance. Husband also contends that the trial court erred because it failed to factor the short duration of the marriage when computing maintenance and awarding Wife a marital interest in the parties’ residence, which Husband acquired prior to the marriage.
First, the trial court properly analyzed Wife’s condition in determining her employment opportunities and its findings regarding her condition were not inconsistent. When a party testifies in detail on their own symptoms, medical testimony is unnecessary to find that a condition limits the employment that respondent could find, especially in the presence of other limiting factors.
Second, the length of the marriage was not so short as to render the maintenance award unreasonable. The marriage was 6.5 years and during that time the parties enjoyed a high standard of living. The brevity of the marriage does not control the amount of a maintenance award.
Third, the trial court properly awarded Wife an interest in the parties’ residence because the parties paid for the residence’s mortgage with marital property. An increase in the value of non-marital property is marital property subject to division, if the increase comes from marital assets, which includes separate assets commingled with marital assets. So, when Husband deposited his separate pension in an account with marital income of Husband and Wife, payments on a mortgage resulted in marital equity.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED105252