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Greenberg v. Greenberg

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

February 10, 2015

ELLEN R. GREENBERG n/k/a KLAMON, Respondent,
v.
BARRY J. GREENBERG, Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Honorable John R. Essner.

Lawrence G. Gillespie, Clayton, MO, For Appellant.

Nathan S. Cohen, Clayton, MO, For Respondent.

Patricia L. Cohen, Presiding Judge. Patricia L. Cohen, P.J., Roy L. Richter, J., and Robert M. Clayton III, J., concurring.

OPINION

Page 391

Patricia L. Cohen, J.

Introduction

Barry Greenberg (Husband) appeals the judgment entered by the Circuit Court of St. Louis County modifying the decree of dissolution between Husband and Ellen Klamon (Wife) in which the trial court increased Husband's maintenance obligation from $4,000 per month to $4,400 per month. Husband claims that the trial court erred in: (1) granting Wife's motion to increase maintenance; and (2) denying his motion to decrease maintenance. We reverse and remand.

Factual and Procedural Background

Husband and Wife divorced in 2001. The original judgment and decree of dissolution awarded Wife maintenance of $5,000 per month for one year following the dissolution and then reduced the maintenance award to $4,000 per month. The judgment further ordered Husband to pay a portion of Wife's attorney fees in the amount of $6,525.[1]

On January 20, 2011, Husband filed a motion to modify maintenance, alleging a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that rendered the original maintenance provision of the decree of dissolution unreasonable. Specifically, Husband alleged, among other things, that: (1)

Page 392

Wife was employed and had sufficient assets or income to support herself without contribution from Husband; and (2) Husband experienced a substantial decrease in income since entry of the decree and did not have sufficient assets to pay maintenance. Husband requested that the court either terminate or reduce his maintenance obligation and require Wife to pay his attorney fees and costs in this matter. On March 9, 2011, Wife filed her counter-motion to modify, alleging that substantial and continuing changes made the monthly maintenance amount " unjust and inappropriate." Specifically, Wife alleged that: (1) her cost of living increased due to inflation; (2) she developed health issues that limited her ability to earn and increased her monthly expenses; and (3) she was unable to meet her needs with her income from employment and maintenance from Husband. She requested that the trial court increase her award of maintenance and order Husband to pay all her attorney fees and costs incurred as a result of the proceeding for modification.

The trial court held a hearing on the motions on May 21, 2012 and December 14, 2012.[2] On the first day of the hearing, Husband stipulated that he was able to pay his current maintenance obligation of $4,000 per month but maintained that Wife had ...


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