Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri. The Honorable Leslie Mayberry Schneider, Judge.
For Respondent: Gretchen Yancey Rogers, Columbia, MO.
For Appellant: Elizabeth Karsian Wilson, Columbia MO.
Before Division Three: Mark D. Pfeiffer, PJ., Gary D. Witt, Anthony Rex Gabbert, JJ. All concur.
Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge
Jeffrey J. Kunce appeals the circuit court's judgment denying his motion to terminate or modify maintenance. Kunce raises three points on appeal. First, Kunce argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to terminate maintenance because Faye Graham remarried. Second, Kunce argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to modify maintenance because Kunce proved a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, while Graham failed to adduce evidence to support a continued award of $1,800 per month of maintenance. Third, Kunce argues that the circuit court erred in awarding Graham's attorney's fees in the amount of $1,500 because the totality of the circumstances does not support an award of attorney's fees. We affirm.
The parties were divorced on June 25, 2010, after approximately thirty-one years of marriage. As part of the dissolution decree, Kunce was ordered to pay Graham $1,800 per month in maintenance. Kunce was also ordered to pay $300 per month to Graham for child support for their nineteen year old daughter.
After the dissolution, Graham began dating Jesse Biddle. She eventually moved to Vermont where Biddle and his children resided. In November 2010, Graham and Biddle registered for a domestic partnership status in the City of Seatle. This was done to allow Graham to benefit from Biddle's health insurance coverage. It was also decided that Graham and Biddle would have a celebration of their relationship. The couple sent out announcements and even ran an ad in a newspaper with the headline stating " Wedding: Graham-Biddle" The first sentence of the newspaper announcement stated that the couple were married June 25, 2011 aboard a boat.
However, the couple did not obtain a marriage license nor did the person presiding over the ceremony have the legal authority to perform a marriage. Also, several months prior to the celebration, Graham contacted Kunce to let him know about the celebration and emphasized that it was not a wedding as she had no intention of ever getting married again.
Sometime after the celebration, Kunce stopped paying Graham the monthly maintenance. On July 25, 2012, Kunce filed a motion to terminate maintenance and child support as well as an alternative motion to modify the maintenance and child support. In support of his motion to terminate maintenance, Kunce claimed that Graham remarried. Graham later filed a cross-motion seeking to increase the maintenance.
A hearing was held on the motions. At the time of the ...