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In re Marriage of Gertiser & Gertiser

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 14, 2015

IN RE: THE MARRIAGE OF ANNE T. GERTISER and KEVIN GERTISER, KEVIN GERTISER, Appellant-Respondent,
v.
ANNE STOKES (formerly Gertiser), Appellee-Petitioner

APPEAL FROM THE HAMILTON SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Daniel Pfleging, Judge. Cause No. 29D02-0303-DR-200.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RUSSELL T. CLARKE, JR., Emswiller, Williams, Noland & Clarke, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JUDY M. TYRRELL, Indianapolis, Indiana.

MAY, Judge. VAIDIK, C.J., and FRIEDLANDER, J., concur.

Page 522

OPINION

MAY, Judge

Kevin Gertiser appeals the denial of his petition to terminate the spousal maintenance he pays to his ex-wife, Anne Stokes. Kevin asserts the court abused its discretion by continuing the spousal maintenance and by ordering him to pay Anne's attorney fees. We reverse and remand.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Kevin and Anne divorced on June 25, 2007. The court ordered Kevin to pay Anne, who is blind, incapacity-based maintenance in the amount of $1,182.50 per month. Anne remarried on December 29, 2012, and Kevin filed a petition to terminate the spousal maintenance because Anne now has the means to support herself.

Kevin's base pay is $156,263.00 per year, approximately $12,000.00 per year more

Page 523

than he made at the time of the divorce. Although he may receive a bonus, it is not guaranteed.

Anne receives Social Security Disability Income of $940.00 per month, from which health insurance is deducted. Occasionally, Anne works as a part-time, temporary salesperson for Senior Expos but has never earned more than $1,200.00 per year. Her husband earns $163,800.00 per year, and they share bank accounts and have financial assets in excess of $600,000.00.

The trial court declined to modify Kevin's spousal maintenance order because Anne's personal earning ability and incapacity had not improved since the divorce; thus, the court concluded, there had not been a significant change of circumstances that would make the original order unreasonable. ...


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