Hutchins v. Hutchins, 48767

Decision Date12 March 1985
Docket NumberNo. 48767,48767
Citation687 S.W.2d 703
PartiesRichard Lee HUTCHINS, Respondent, v. Martha Belle HUTCHINS, Appellant.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

W. Morris Taylor, Clayton, for appellant.

Ellsworth Cundiff, St. Charles, for respondent.

REINHARD, Chief Judge.

This is an appeal by wife from the decree dissolving the parties' marriage. This is the second time this case is before the court. The first appeal was dismissed because the trial court had failed to dispose of all marital property. Hutchins v. Hutchins, 660 S.W.2d 403 (Mo.App.1983). Following that dismissal the parties entered into a stipulation for the distribution of that property. The stipulation also transferred custody of one of the parties' three minor children to husband, but otherwise left the original decree intact, subject to right of appeal. The agreement was approved by the trial court and a final, appealable decree is now before us. The record of the first appeal has been incorporated into the present appeal, with the parties resubmitting their original briefs with supplementation. Wife realleges the same points as in the first appeal: that the trial court erred in its awards of maintenance, child support, and attorney's fees, in the division of marital property, and in classifying certain assets as husband's separate property. We modify and affirm as modified.

The parties were married on January 9, 1965. They separated on January 3, 1981, when wife was admitted to an alcohol abuse treatment center. Although she successfully completed the treatment program, and has had no problems with alcohol since, the parties never resumed cohabitation. Three children were born of the marriage; Mary Frances, born September 18, 1965; Kathleen Beatrice, born October 10, 1968; and Richard Lee Hutchins, Jr., born October 7, 1974. The original decree gave custody of all three children to wife, and awarded her child support of $65 per week per child. As noted above, the stipulation provided that custody of the youngest child be transferred to husband and eliminated child support payments after the date of transfer.

During the marriage, husband provided for the financial needs of the family while wife remained home to raise the children. She has an eleventh grade education and has not been employed outside the home since the marriage. He had been employed for about 20 years by the Hutchins Co., serving 15 years as an officer and 10 years as a director. On June 30, 1981, however, his employment was terminated, the details of which are discussed below. He remained unemployed until August 17, 1981, when he began working for Traditional Watercraft, a manufacturer of sailboats, located in Florida. Initially, he earned $3.35 per hour, but by January 1982 he was earning $4.00 per hour, and working an average of 32 hours per week.

Hutchins Co. is a closely-held corporation with operations in St. Charles County and in Florida. The Florida division manufactures sailboats. Husband's parents are the majority shareholders of the company, owning two-thirds of the stock. The remaining one-third is divided equally among husband and his two brothers. The three brothers also are partners in a partnership which owns the real estate on which Hutchins Co.'s Florida operation is located. Husband's salary from Hutchins Co. had been over $40,000 each of the three years preceding his termination, and over $50,000 his last year.

Husband's discharge by Hutchins Co. is the source of much dispute. The firing occurred the day after the hearing on temporary allowance. The reason advanced was husband's alleged poor job performance. However, the corporate records show that the directors approved a resolution commending the officers for their work during the year. There was testimony that husband said he did not apply for unemployment compensation because he quit his job and was not fired.

The evidence showed that, despite the firing, husband's relationship with his parents and brothers remained warm and cordial. Husband retained the use of a company automobile, and used his father's car to travel to St. Charles from Florida for one of the hearings in the cause. He accompanied his brother to a trade show in Annapolis, Maryland, allegedly on behalf of his new employer, travelling in a Hutchins Co. car. His new employer was an acquaintance of husband's father, and was located just six miles from Hutchins' Florida plant.

The court ordered a roughly equal division of the marital property. The main asset awarded to wife was the marital home, valued at $60,000 subject to an outstanding debt of $21,000, which she was ordered to pay. She received no income producing assets. The court also awarded her maintenance in gross of $500 per month for one year.

The primary issue in this appeal is the court's...

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11 cases
  • Mika v. Mika
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • February 24, 1987
    ...or an award in gross and is nonmodifiable. Doerflinger v. Doerflinger, 646 S.W.2d 798, 801 (Mo.banc 1983); See also, Hutchins v. Hutchins, 687 S.W.2d 703, 706 (Mo.App.1985). The award also survives remarriage or death. See D.E.W. v. M.W., 552 S.W.2d 280, 283 (Mo.App.1977). The trial court's......
  • Burbes v. Burbes, 52150
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • November 3, 1987
    ...awards; a fixed sum payable at once, a fixed sum payable in installments, or an award of unlimited duration." Hutchins v. Hutchins, 687 S.W.2d 703, 706 (Mo.App.1985) (citing Doerflinger v. Doerflinger, 646 S.W.2d 798 (Mo. banc 1983)). An award which is limited in duration is in the nature o......
  • Tillock v. Tillock, 64172
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 24, 1994
    ...v. Burbes, 739 S.W.2d 582, 584 (Mo.App.1987). There is a judicial preference for awards of unlimited maintenance. Hutchins v. Hutchins, 687 S.W.2d 703, 706 (Mo.App.1985). Where the evidence indicates that the dependent spouse could become self-supporting within the period of the maintenance......
  • Reeves v. Reeves
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1989
    ...conditions at that time. Awards of maintenance for a predetermined limited period are to be viewed with caution. Hutchins v. Hutchins, 687 S.W.2d 703 (Mo.App.1985). The considerations involved are thoroughly and adroitly reviewed in In Re Marriage of Powers, 527 S.W.2d 949 (Mo.App.1975). Th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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