Blount v. Blount, s. 47753

Decision Date26 June 1984
Docket NumberNos. 47753,47802,s. 47753
Citation674 S.W.2d 612
PartiesPatricia L. BLOUNT, Petitioner-Appellant, v. David B. BLOUNT, Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Kenneth S. Lay, Clayton, for petitioner-appellant.

David B. Lacks, Clayton, for respondent.

KAROHL, Presiding Judge.

Wife appeals trial court's decree dissolving the parties' marriage. The court awarded the wife custody of the children, child support, the marital home and furnishings, and limited maintenance.

The parties were married on June 29, 1963 and the dissolution decree was granted on August 11, 1983. Three children were born of the marriage. The youngest child will be eighteen on March 23, 1988. The limited maintenance award of $2,200 per month will end in May, 1988.

Appellant wife's only point on appeal contests the sufficiency of evidence to support the termination in four years and nine months of the $2,200 per month maintenance where there was no evidence of impending change in her financial condition and no evidence of any reasonable expectation that such change will occur.

The trial court has discretion as to the amount and duration of maintenance payments after considering various factors enumerated in Section 452.335.2, RSMo 1978. These factors are not exclusive. That section provides the following:

2. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors including:

(1) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;

(2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;

(3) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(4) The duration of the marriage;

(5) The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(6) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and

(7) The conduct of a party seeking maintenance during the marriage.

Appellant was approximately 38 years old at the time of the decree, a high school graduate and in good health. She worked full-time as a secretary for the first five years of marriage. She then became a full time homemaker to raise the children. For a limited period in 1981 she was a part-time bookkeeper. She is wholly dependent upon respondent-husband who was ordered to pay $2,900 a month for maintenance and child support, the sufficiency of which has not been appealed.

Applying the statute to the facts we find first, that except for the marital home worth approximately $160,000 with an equity of $57,000, household furnishings and an automobile subject to a lease she has no access to independent income. Second, there was no evidence presented at trial as to the time necessary for the wife to rehabilitate herself so as to become self-supporting. Third, the standard of living established during the marriage has increased appreciably over the years largely due to the husband advancing in his occupation and becoming a partner in Arthur Anderson and Co. Fourth, the marriage lasted nineteen years. Fifth, the wife was approximately 38 years old at the time of the decree and evidence indicates she was in good health. Sixth, the husband had the ability to meet his needs while meeting those of his wife since his income in 1982 was $140,000 and there was no reason to believe that amount would decrease in the future. Finally, there is no evidence of marital misconduct.

The Missouri Supreme Court in Doerflinger v. Doerflinger, 646 S.W.2d 798, 802 (Mo. banc 1983) ruled that limited maintenance depends not on assessment of future events but upon whether there was substantial evidence at the time of the decree to justify an imposition of a limitation. (emphasis added). We ruled a case on similar facts in LoPiccolo v. LoPiccolo, 547 S.W.2d 501 (Mo.App.1977). In that case the wife was 38 years old, was granted custody of four children, owned no income producing property and had not worked during her marriage. However, the wife obtained employment as a saleswoman and had an optimistic financial outlook for the future. The appellate court there concluded that the wife's optimism did not constitute substantial evidence of her future ability to provide for her needs and held the trial court committed error in limiting her maintenance to four years. LoPiccolo relied on In re Marriage of Powers, 527 S.W.2d 949, 955 (Mo.App.1975). The conclusion in Powers was that if evidence indicates that the dependent spouse's financial prospects will not improve dramatically in the future and that the means of the spouse providing maintenance are not likely to decrease in the future, the trial court abuses its discretion when it speculates that the original maintenance award will no longer be required in the future. Maintenance should not be prospectively decreased or terminated if there is no evidence or reasonable expectation that the circumstances of the parties will be markedly different in the future. LoPiccolo at 506. A future income source should not be considered if the amount of the future income is speculative. See, Butcher v. Butcher, 544 S.W.2d 249, 253 (Mo.App.1976).

We held in Turner v. Turner, 650 S.W.2d 662 (Mo.App.1983) that where a physical disability at the time of the dissolution made self-support uncertain limited maintenance was inappropriate. We now hold that where termination of maintenance is four years and nine months from the date of the dissolution and where evidence fails to disclose with any degree of certainty that dependent spouse will be self-supporting it was error to limit maintenance and therefore the decree misapplied the facts to the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976).

Evidence disclosed only the possibility that appellant would become self-supporting. In...

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6 cases
  • Arndt v. Arndt
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 23, 2017
    ...W.D. 2011). "A future income source should not be considered if the amount of the future income is speculative." Blount v. Blount , 674 S.W.2d 612, 614 (Mo. App. E.D. 1984). If Paige had not changed her job, the motion court could have—and should have—considered her past shift differentials......
  • Burbes v. Burbes, 52150
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • November 3, 1987
    ...longer be required in the future. In Re Marriage of Powers, 527 S.W.2d 949, 955 (Mo.App.1975) , cited with approval in Blount v. Blount, 674 S.W.2d 612, 614 (Mo.App.1984); LoPiccolo v. LoPiccolo, 547 S.W.2d 501, 505 (Mo.App.1977). Because of her age, education, and inexperience wife is not ......
  • Grams v. Grams, s. 56588
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 9, 1990
    ...Such speculative future income amounts do not warrant a limitation on maintenance. See Eckstein, 748 S.W.2d at 948; Blount v. Blount, 674 S.W.2d 612, 614 (Mo.App.1984). Husband's second point is denied. Husband further contends the trial court erred by ordering him to pay Wife's attorney's ......
  • Newman v. Newman, 51086
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • October 7, 1986
    ...must be, at the time of trial, evidence or a reasonable probability, maintenance will not be needed upon termination. Blount v. Blount, 674 S.W.2d 612, 614 (Mo.App.1984); and Vogt v. Ketzner, 634 S.W.2d 583, 583 (Mo.App.1982). Wife maintains that there is no evidence that in five years she ......
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