Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Honorable Nancy M.
("Husband") appeals from the trial court's
judgment and decree of dissolution awarding modifiable
maintenance to J.W. ("Wife") in the amount of $350
per month. We reverse and remand with instructions.
and Wife were married on February 14, 2006. The parties had
no children during the marriage and separated in December
2013. On March 26, 2014, Husband filed his Petition for
Dissolution of Marriage. Wife filed her Answer and Counter
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on June 30, 2014.
2005 to 2010, Husband was a school teacher in the Riverview
Gardens School System. After being laid off in 2011, Husband
worked partially during 2012 and retired later that year.
Following his retirement, Husband began receiving social
security retirement benefits and benefits from the Public
School Retirement System of Missouri.
receives $1, 844.36 monthly from the Public School Retirement
System of Missouri and $1, 547 from his social security
retirement benefit for a total gross receipt of $3, 391.36.
Considering Husband's 2012 and 2013 tax returns, the
court determined that his monthly income was $4, 873.83.
While Husband did not provide his income tax returns for
2014, the trial court did hear testimony from Husband and
Wife regarding Husband's limited income in 2014 and
received unemployment compensation in 2012 and 2013, however,
he stopped receiving unemployment compensation in 2013. Both
parties testified that Husband's sole source of income
since 2014 has been from his retirement and social security
benefits. Despite this testimony, the trial court did not
consider any 2014 financial information in its calculation of
Husband's monthly income for maintenance purposes.
is currently behind on his state and federal taxes, medical
bills, and several credit card statements. The trial court
deducted $500 from his submitted expenses for credit card
payments, but did not include outstanding medical bills or
state and federal taxes in its calculation of Husband's
monthly expenses because the record did not reflect whether
the expenses were regular or short term expenses.
was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and was deemed
permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Consequently, she receives $1, 671.90 monthly in social
security benefits. Though she performed clerical work for 19
years, nerve damages have made her unable to move her arm or
fingers on the right side of her body and has prevented her
from finding appropriate employment. Noting her inability to
work and upcoming housing expenses, the trial court
determined that Wife's monthly expenses totaled $3,
examining the parties' financial situations, the court
determined Wife could not meet her financial needs and that
Husband's income enabled him to meet his own needs while
also providing assistance to Wife. The court ordered Husband
to pay Wife $350 per month as modifiable maintenance. On
November 19, 2015, Husband filed his Motion for
Reconsideration of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and
Partial Judgment and to Hear Additional Evidence and Request
for Hearing. His motion was heard and denied. Husband now
raises three points on appeal. First, Husband claims that the
trial court erred in including his social security and
teacher's retirement benefits in its calculation of his
income because the benefits are nontransferable and
unassignable under Section 169.572 (RSMo. 2000)and the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
Section 407 (2000). He further argues the statutes prevent
these benefits from being subject to maintenance.
Husband alleges the trial court erred in awarding maintenance
in the amount of $350 per month because the award was unjust,
pursuant Section 452.335, and against the weight of the
evidence in that the court failed to consider his current
income when it only averaged his 2012 and 2013 income in
determining the maintenance amount. Husband maintains that
the income of those two years is not reflective of his
current income and the trial court failed to consider that
his expenses now exceed his current income.
Husband argues the trial court erred in awarding Wife
maintenance in the amount of $350 per month because it was
unjust, pursuant Section 452.335 and against the weight of
the evidence in that Wife is capable of earning sufficient
income to meet her reasonable needs and the calculation of
her housing expenses was based on conjecture.