ILNews

Court properly declined to modify spousal maintenance agreement

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An ex-wife must pay her husband $4,000 a month in spousal maintenance under an agreement she signed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, affirming a trial court’s decision to deny the woman’s request to modify the maintenance.

Barbara and Michael Pohl divorced in March 2009; two months later, Barbara Pohl signed an addendum to their custody, support and property settlement agreement agreeing to pay spousal support to Michael Pohl. Her ex-husband injured his back and received Social Security income payments for his disability. Michael Pohl would receive $4,000 a month from his ex-wife beginning in June 2013.

In October 2012, Barbara Pohl asked the trial court to modify her spousal maintenance obligation to $1,000 a month, pointing to her ex-husband’s increased SSI and that his fiancée pays the couple’s rent. Since signing the agreement, Barbara Pohl’s salary has increased nearly $60,000.

Those payments were stayed pending the outcome of this appeal, Barbara J. Pohl v. Michael G. Pohl, 32A04-1304-DR-163.

“Here, spousal maintenance was agreed to by the parties in an addendum, and, because the trial court found that Michael’s disability ‘materially affected’ his ability to support himself, a trial court would also have had the authority to award Michael spousal incapacity maintenance under Indiana Code section 31-15-7-2(1). Therefore, the trial court had the authority to modify the agreement under a standard that required her to show fraud, duress, or mistake or a substantial and continuing change in circumstances,” Judge John Baker wrote.

But she failed to show the agreement should have been modified under either option. The trial court’s determination that there was a “basis in evidence to support the maintenance” is supported by the evidence, the judges held.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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