Brief Fact Summary. Appellant, husband, and plaintiff, wife, led a marriage in which plaintiff provide for financial stability and husband only provided limited domestic work. Appellant challenged the trial court’s division of marital property and failure to award maintenance upon divorce.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The sex of the parties should have no effect on the division of marital property and allowance of maintenance.
We will affirm the judgment of the trial court unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence or unless it erroneously declares or applies the law.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the trial court err in its division of the marital property and failure to award appellant maintenance?
Held. The trial court abused its discretion in dividing the marital property and failing ot award rehabilitative maintenance to appellant.
Missouri statute directs the trial court to divide the marital property in a just manner, considering all relevant factors. The guiding principles inherent in this statute are that property division should reflect the concept of marriage as a shared enterprise similar to a partnership; and, should be utilized as a means of providing future support for an economically dependant spouse.
Throughout the marriage appellant has become economically dependant on the respondent. Although the Court does not find that appellant’s contributions entitled him to an equal division of the marital property, it finds that the trial court’s determination that appellant made not substantial contribution to the marriage resulted in an abuse of discretion in dividing the marital property.
Appellant also claims that the trial court erred in awarding no maintenance to him for the time he needs to obtain necessary education and retraining to gain satisfactory employment. Maintenance is awarded when one spouse detrimentally relies upon the other to provide monetary support for the marriage. Rehabilitative maintenance is appropriate in situations such as this where there is substantial evidence the party seeking maintenance will or should become self-supporting.
Dissent. Accepting the concept of marriage as a shared enterprise, this husband had a negative impact on the marriage. He is unwilling, rather than unable to support himself
Discussion. The majority finds that the sex of the parties should have no effect on the division of marital property and allowance of maintenance regardless of reversed gender roles. The dissent did not believe that the husband provided sufficient support either financially or domestically.