Castle v. Castle, Ky COA, Termination Of Open-ended Maintenance

Castle v. Castle, --S.W.3d—(Ky. App. 2008), 2007-CA-001238-MR

The parties were married for twenty-five (25) years. There was no separation agreement between the parties, but a Domestic Relations Commissioner’s report was confirmed by the lower court. However, the court increased the open-ended maintenance award to $750 per month and added a requirement that maintenance would terminate if the wife cohabitated with an individual other than a relative. In 2006 the husband filed a motion to terminate maintenance, alleging the wife was living with her boyfriend. The court granted his motion and denied the wife’s motion to alter, amend, or vacate. Wife appealed.
Open-ended maintenance awards may be modified by only two methods 1) a separation agreement or 2) changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the award unconscionable pursuant to KRS 403.250(1). The lower court held that the wife’s cohabitation with her boyfriend constituted a changed circumstance sufficient to make the payment of maintenance unconscionable. COA found that the lower court made sufficient findings to support the termination of maintenance.
The wife also argued that the court erred in not awarding her attorney fees. COA found no abuse of discretion.
Digested by Sarah Jost Nielsen, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates