Steinmeyer v. Steinmeyer, 46866

Decision Date10 April 1984
Docket NumberNo. 46866,46866
Citation669 S.W.2d 65
PartiesMarjorie J. STEINMEYER, Appellant, v. Erich R. STEINMEYER, Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Edward Delworth, Overland, for appellant.

Justin C. Cordonnier, St. Louis, for respondent.

FRED E. SCHOENLAUB, Special Judge.

Marjorie J. Steinmeyer appeals from the maintenance and property distribution portions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Erich R. Steinmeyer. She contends the trial court erred in the amount of maintenance awarded and in ordering it to terminate in three years. She also alleges that the court erred in its distribution of the parties' marital property in that her need for cash funds was not considered. Both parties agree that the court failed to distribute two insurance policies. In this review the court finds that the trial court also failed to distribute a $1,000 certificate of deposit.

Review of this case is governed by Rule 73.01 and Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30 (Mo. banc 1976). Accordingly, the decree of the trial court will be affirmed unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, unless it is against the weight of the evidence, unless it erroneously declares the law, or unless it erroneously applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, supra, 1.c. 32; Whitenton v. Whitenton, 659 S.W.2d 542, 546 (Mo.App.1983).

Appellant's first allegation of error concerns the trial court ordering the maintenance award to terminate in three years, alleging that there was no evidence of any circumstance that would change her needs in three years. In Doerflinger v. Doerflinger, 646 S.W.2d 798, 800 (Mo. banc 1983), the Missouri Supreme Court noted that Sec. 452.335, RSMo 1978, grants to the trial court wide latitude in decreeing spousal maintenance, and after giving due consideration to all of the factors which the statute enumerates, the court must undertake not only to set the amount payable but determine for what period the payments shall be made. The court further held that the statute plainly indicates that dependency of a spouse is not presumed but rather a spouse seeking maintenance is, in proper cases, to be encouraged and aided in becoming self-sufficient by education or training. The statute gives the trial court considerable discretion as to the amounts and the duration of maintenance payments, Pederson v. Pederson, 599 S.W.2d 51, 53 (Mo.App.1980); In re Marriage of Powers, 527 S.W.2d 949, 954 (Mo.App.1975), and the burden is upon the appellant to demonstrate an abuse of that discretion. Bull v. Bull, 634 S.W.2d 228, 229 (Mo.App.1982). Appellant has failed to show such an abuse of discretion.

Although this court has held that a maintenance award of limited duration should not be based upon speculation, In re Marriage of Powers, supra, 1.c. 955, we have also held that this does not mean that a husband must wait to request modification until it is a certainty that his wife will be self-sufficient. Sansone v. Sansone, 615 S.W.2d 670, 671 (Mo.App.1981), approving a maintenance award for one year as reasonable so that "the wife could adjust to a new pattern of life and obtain employment." The court noted there that the evidence supported the conclusion that there was some reasonable expectation that within a year the wife who was a real estate appraiser, would have employment if she sought it. In Royal v. Royal, 617 S.W.2d 615, 619 (Mo.App.1981), it was held that the statutory factors are to be tempered by a policy of encouraging the self-sufficiency of the parties following separation. In Felkner v. Felkner, 652 S.W.2d 174, 176 (Mo.App.1983), this court affirmed a finding by the trial court that wife would be capable "after a period of training and adjustment" of supporting herself, and in Doerflinger v. Doerflinger, supra 1.c. 801, the Supreme Court held that a maintenance in gross award, whether a lump-sum payment or periodic payments for a limited period, constitutes a rejection by the trial court of a "necessity of the dependent spouse for indefinite continuation of support and has decreed instead the payment of limited sum during a period of readjustment."

The facts in this case differ from those in Turner v. Turner, 650 S.W.2d 662, 664 (Mo.App.1983), cited by appellant, where a two-year restriction was reversed, there being no evidence to justify the court's finding that appellant would become self-supporting within two years where, although motivated, due to arthritis it was questionable that she would be able to support herself even after completing her education; or Royal v. Royal, supra, in which the trial court order was modified to provide for continuing jurisdiction over the maintenance issue in a case where appellant was suffering from physical and emotional difficulties or Vogt v. Ketzner, 634 S.W.2d 583 (Mo.App.1982), in which a five-year restriction was disapproved where the wife suffered from psychological problems.

Here appellant is 40 years old, has no health problems which impair her working ability, sought and obtained employment as a floral designer two years before the separation and is still...

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32 cases
  • Rich v. Rich, 62932
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • March 8, 1994
    ...all of the needs of the spouse even if the maintaining spouse has sufficient resources to provide such support." Steinmeyer v. Steinmeyer, 669 S.W.2d 65, 68 (Mo.App.1984). The court simply must look at the circumstances of the parties and the marriage to decide what may "justly" be required......
  • Grunden v. Nelson
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 27, 1990
    ...as the trial court ought to have given in the situation. Oldfield v. Oldfield, 688 S.W.2d 778, 781 (Mo.App.1985); Steinmeyer v. Steinmeyer, 669 S.W.2d 65, 68 (Mo.App.1984). An appellate court should not do so absent a record and evidence upon which that function can be performed with some d......
  • Burbes v. Burbes, 52150
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • November 3, 1987
    ...could become self-supporting within the period of the maintenance award, we have upheld awards of limited duration. Steinmeyer v. Steinmeyer, 669 S.W.2d 65 (Mo.App.1984); Sansone v. Sansone, 615 S.W.2d 670 (Mo.App.1981); Penderson v. Penderson, 599 S.W.2d 51 (Mo.App.1980). Most recently in ......
  • Kinder v. Kinder, WD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • October 10, 1989
    ...an appellate court is favored where no further factual adjudication is necessary. Roark, 694 S.W.2d at 914, (citing Steinmeyer v. Steinmeyer, 669 S.W.2d 65, 68 (Mo.App.1984)). In this case, it is impossible to determine what Mr. Kinder's income might be. Because the findings are lacking and......
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