Sunday, December 8, 2013

Richardson v. Richardson case brief

Richardson v. Richardson case brief summary
218 S.W.3d 426 (2007)

The Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis (Missouri) dismissed appellant husband's motion to terminate his maintenance obligation that alleged inter alia, that respondent wife "sought out a person(s) for the purpose of burglarizing the husband's home," and "for the purposes of murdering the husband." The trial court dismissed the motion with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The husband appealed.

In his only point on appeal, the husband asserted that the trial court erred in granting the wife's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, because the trial court misinterpreted Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.325 (2000), and the couple's separation agreement, incorporated into the dissolution decree, provided that the terms of the agreement should not be subject to modification or change, regardless of the relative circumstances of the parties.


  • Neither the agreement, nor the decree, nor the statute authorized a court to modify the terms of the agreement or the decree on account of subsequent circumstances. 
  • The Missouri legislature saw fit to allow such a clause to be elevated from contractual to judicial status by incorporation into the dissolution decree. 
  • The Supreme Court of Missouri was bound to respect the statute and to enforce those documents as agreed to and ordered.
  • The husband nonetheless argued against application of § 452.325(6) on four grounds: 
  • (1) unconscionability; 
  • (2) Missouri contract law; 
  • (3) the doctrine of waiver and 
  • (4) public policy. 
  • None of those grounds justified a departure from the statute.
The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

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