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No abuse by trial court in modifying maintenance payment terms

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied a man’s petition to revoke spousal maintenance.

Michael Palmby agreed in May 2008 to pay his wife, Karen Palmby, $1,500 a month for two years as part of their divorce agreement. They had been married nearly 27 years and Karen Palmby mainly stayed home with their three children during the course of their marriage. The spousal maintenance was to help Karen Palmby obtain any training to reenter the workforce.

But Michael Palmby ended up paying about $12,000 because he lost significant income due to the housing downturn in 2008 and 2009. He was a Realtor making $120,000 when they divorced; he quit real estate and started working at a call center in 2013 making $50,000. Instead of using the money for work training, Karen Palmby used it to pay medical bills after she broke her arm. She obtained employment at a department store during the pendency of the divorce and has since received a promotion.

In 2013, she sought to recover the remaining money owed; Michael Palmby sought to end the maintenance because of a substantial and continuing change in his circumstances. The trial court decided that Michael Palmby should have $200 per paycheck garnished to pay for the spousal maintenance.

The Court of Appeals found that because the settlement agreement rested on a ground on which the trial court could have ordered the maintenance in the absence of an agreement, the trial court had the authority to modify the instant agreement with respect to rehabilitative maintenance.

The judges noted that Michael Palmby didn’t request a modification based on a substantial and continuing change in circumstances in December 2009 when he entered into an agreement acknowledging he was in contempt for failure to make the payments and had 10 percent of his paycheck garnished until the amount was paid in full.

“Mindful of the ‘great restraint’ which we should exercise in reviewing settlement agreements, we cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Michael’s request to revoke the spousal maintenance and instead modified the payment terms of the accumulated rehabilitative maintenance,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in Michael W. Palmby v. Karen M Palmby, 32A04-1310-DR-506.

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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