Court may not modify nor terminate maintenance where the underlying agreement makes it non-modifiable – Ky Court of Appeals

Power of Attorney

Husband and wife divorced in 2004. Husband paid maintenance pursuant to a non-modifiable award set forth in a Marital Settlement Agreement. Ten years later, Husband moved to terminate his obligation due to a change in employment. The family court entered an Order terminating maintenance pursuant to KRS 403.250(1) stating it gave the family court “authority to modify a settlement agreement that had become unconscionable, even if it contained a non-modification clause.”

Wife appealed arguing that the family court did not have the authority to modify the maintenance award. The Court of Appeals agreed holding that “Changed circumstances rendering the terms of a maintenance award unconscionable is the only ground upon which a court has authority to modify any maintenance award. However, the clear language of KRS 403.250(1) prohibits a court from invoking this limited authority when the parties have a separation agreement pursuant to KRS 403.180(6) that expressly precluded subsequent modification of the terms of their separation agreement.”