Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Honorable Mary Elizabeth Ott.
Jillian Wood, Arnold, MO, for appellant.
Martha Moran, Clayton, MO, for respondent.
Lawrence E. Mooney, P.J., concurs. Lisa Van Amburg, J., concurs.
CLIFFORD H. AHRENS,
Richard Sheerin appeals from the trial court's judgment awarding $1,000 in monthly maintenance to his former spouse, Toinet Sheerin. We reverse and remand.
The parties married in 1991. Toinet had three children at the time, then ages 8, 9, and 15. The parties had no children together. Richard is a concrete worker in the construction industry and was the breadwinner for the family throughout the marriage. Toinet occasionally worked minimum wage jobs but primarily raised the children and maintained the household.
The parties separated and filed cross-petitions for dissolution in 2012. Toinet stayed in the marital residence. Richard moved in with his father. At the time of trial, Richard earned a gross monthly salary of $2,083 ($1,711 net) working for a construction company and also derived about $1,000 monthly from independent jobs. Richard testified that he had multiple injuries and health problems resulting
from a long career in construction such that his earning capacity was diminishing with age (then 53). He further testified that he would be eligible to draw on his union pension (then $2,617 total) at age 62, or earlier with penalties. Toinet, age 59 at the time of trial, remained unemployed and received $265 per month in food stamps and disability benefits relating to mental health issues. The parties jointly owned a residence ($98,000), two cars ($9,000), and several bank accounts ($14,000). Their debt consisted of a mortgage ($103,000), personal loans from Richard's family members ($10,000), and Toinet's medical bills ($3,690).
Richard's itemized living expenses were $2,599. Toinet's claimed expenses were $1,824. Both figures included the couple's mortgage of $713, which Richard was paying to avoid foreclosure while Toinet occupied the residence. Toinet testified that she was eligible for subsidized housing and intended to avail herself of that option after dissolution. Both parties acknowledged that they would receive social security benefits in the coming years.
The trial court granted judgment of dissolution and awarded Richard the marital residence, his car, certain bank accounts totaling just over $6,000, and his separate and marital portions of his union pension. The court ordered Richard to assume the home mortgage, the credit card debt, and the personal loans. The court awarded Toinet her vehicle, certain bank accounts totaling about $5,000, and her marital ...