IN RE: Robert K. BOATMAN Sr.

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IN RE: Robert K. BOATMAN Sr., Appellant, v. Nancy BOATMAN, Respondent.

Decided: January 16, 2014

Before: ROSE, J.P., LAHTINEN, McCARTHY and GARRY, JJ. Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP, Binghamton (Carl A. Kieper of counsel), for appellant. Richard J. Grace, Binghamton, for respondent.

Appeal from an order of the Family Court of Broome County (Charnetsky, J.), entered May 14, 2012, which, in a proceeding pursuant to Family Ct Act article 4, denied petitioner's objections to the order of a Support Magistrate.

Petitioner and respondent ostensibly received a Dominican Republic divorce in 1987 and, in 1992, Supreme Court issued a judgment which, as relevant on appeal, reportedly included a nondurational maintenance payment of $200 per week to respondent.1 In September 2011, petitioner commenced this proceeding seeking to terminate his maintenance obligation based upon alleged change in circumstances resulting from, among other things, his retirement and health issues. Following a hearing, the Support Magistrate (Eberz, S.M.) dismissed the petition. Family Court denied petitioner's written objections to the Support Magistrate's order. Petitioner appeals.

A maintenance obligation may be changed upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances (see Domestic Relations Law § 236[B][9][b][1]; Friske v. Johnson, 97 AD3d 1092, 1093 [2012]; Hall v. Hall, 22 AD3d 979, 980 [2005] ). Initially, we note that the record contains little information regarding the parties' financial circumstances at the time of the divorce judgment, leaving no base from which to measure a change to their current financial circumstances (see Matter of Grange v. Grange, 78 AD3d 1253, 1255 [2010]; Cynoske v. Cynoske, 8 AD3d 720, 722–723 [2004] ). Petitioner, who was 67 years old at the time of the hearing, retired in 2011 and has a serious health problem which prevents him from seeking further employment. Nonetheless, the evidence reveals that his combined retirement and Social Security income is about $64,000 per year. In addition, he has a net worth of over $1,500,000, including in excess of $1,380,000 in stocks, annuities and other investments. He has no liabilities except for unpaid income taxes. Petitioner's current wife is employed as a therapist at a hospital and he did not know how much she earned.

The proof regarding respondent, who was 69 years old at the time of the hearing, established that she also had a health problem that kept her out of work from her part-time job, where she earned approximately $12,000 annually. Her Social Security totaled about $12,700 per year. There was no proof that she had other assets available as a source of income. She lives with her adult son who is a college student and does not contribute to the household finances. Upon review of the record, we find no error in the determination that petitioner failed to show a substantial change in circumstances meriting a reduction in the maintenance payment.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, without costs.


1.  The record does not include the 1987 divorce decree or the 1992 judgment.


ROSE, J.P., McCARTHY and GARRY, JJ., concur.

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