Missouri Court of Appeals denied maintenance for divorce

The parties got married in 1992. The wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in March 2014, wherein she expressed her need for support and maintenance. Martin v. Martin, Docket Number WD78527, 2016 Mo. App. LEXIS 242 (March 15, 2016).

Her income and expense statement reflected monthly expenses in the amount of $5,261, and a monthly rent or mortgage payment in the amount of $1,200. She admitted that her expenses were inflated, and also testified that she did not actually incur that expense each month because she lived with her daughter. As per her, the monthly rent represented an estimate of how much her rent or mortgage payment would be if she lived on her own. Also, she admitted that although her income and expense statement indicated that her gas and oil expenses for vehicle came upto $150 to $200 per month, as opposed to the $400 given in the statement. She admitted that her income and expense statement inflated her actual monthly expenses for insurance, prescription drugs, utilities, and repair costs, and that while her income and expense statement indicated that she spent $125 a month for college expenses, she attended no college.

On the other hand, husband testified that he earned $8,666 per month in salary and his statement indicated monthly expenses of $6,995, which included payments for nearly all of the marital debt. Husband testified that, after paying his expenses, he was left with $600 at most remaining each month.

Consequently, the commissioner entered findings and conclusions, which the trial court adopted as its judgment, in that the wife was capable of working full-time; had the ability to earn approximately $3,604 gross per month; was awarded two pieces of income-producing property — her individual retirement account and half of husband's retirement account, as well as a pickup truck, whose payment was assigned to husband; that she inflated her monthly expenses on the statement and found that a closer estimate of her monthly expenses would approximate $3,000; and accordingly concluded that she was not entitled to maintenance as she had sufficient property, including marital assets, to provide for her reasonable needs, and because she was able to support herself through appropriate employment. The wife appealed as to only the trial court's denial of an award of maintenance.

The Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Division Two Court's held that the trial court’s denial of an award of maintenance under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.335.1, was proper for the reason that when comparing income to reasonable expenses, the trial court concluded that the wife had gross monthly income of $3,604 and access to retirement account distributions that combined to afford the wife with sufficient property to provide for her reasonable needs.


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