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. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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