Stange Law Firm won an important decisions today in reversing a maintenance (alimony) award entered in the St. Charles County Circuit Court against a father. The Court of Appeals agreed that the decision of the trial court was in error as to maintenance (alimony) and should be reversed and remanded. The Court of Appeals also found that the trial court “erred” in conducting an inquiry into father’s religious beliefs.
The Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court erred in granting Wife $1,500 per month in maintenance. The Court held that the trial court’s inclusion of day care expenses and expected health insurance expenses in Wife’s reasonable monthly living expenses constituted plain error.
Wife had included a $500 speculative health insurance expense and approximately $1,800 of child care expenses in her reasonable monthly living expenses. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court impermissibly considered these expenses in awarding Wife $1,500 per month in maintenance. The Court reiterated well-established case law which states that maintenance is solely limited to the reasonable needs of the party seeking maintenance.
The Court of Appeals also held that the trial court erred when it asked father specific questions about his religious beliefs (and the authority he submits to) as it related to child custody. However, the Court of Appeals found that there were other reasons to sustain the child custody award entered.
To read the entire decision, click here: Atchley v. Atchley, ED 94525.