MARK A. AMERO
MARIA C. AMERO
Argued: September 13, 2016
briefs and at oral argument:
P. Howaniec, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant Maria C. Amero
M. Sanders, Esq., Sanders & Hanstein, P.A., Farmington,
for appellee Mark A. Amero
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, HJELM, and
Maria C. Amero appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Farmington, Dow, J.) terminating a prior spousal
support award based on its finding that Maria was cohabiting
with an adult partner, which triggered termination of the
support pursuant to the parties divorce judgment. Maria
contends that there was insufficient evidence supporting the
courts finding of cohabitation. We find no error and affirm
Mark and Maria divorced in 2006 after over thirty years of
marriage. The court (McElwee, J.) entered a divorce
judgment in September 2006 that ordered Mark to pay Maria
general spousal support in the amount of $1, 100 per month.
The award was subject to certain conditions, including that
it "shall terminate upon . . . [Maria]s remarriage or
cohabitation with an adult partner."
In April 2015, Mark filed a motion to modify the spousal
support award, alleging that Maria was cohabiting with an
adult partner, thereby triggering termination of the support
award pursuant to the terms of the parties divorce judgment.
Mark amended his motion to modify in September 2015,
reiterating his assertion that Maria was cohabiting with an
adult partner and citing an impending change in his financial
circumstances due to his upcoming retirement. The court held
a testimonial hearing in November 2015 at which Mark and
Maria were the only witnesses.
The trial court issued an order in November 2015 finding
"by a preponderance of the evidence [that Maria] has
cohabitated with an adult partner . . . since some time in
2010, " but it did not elaborate on the basis for this
finding. Because the court determined that Maria was
cohabiting with an adult partner, it ordered termination of
the spousal support award pursuant to the divorce judgment.
The court declined to analyze the alternative question of
whether a substantial change in circumstances warranted
modification because it deemed the finding of cohabitation a
sufficient basis on which to terminate support.
Neither party moved for further findings of fact pursuant to
Rule 52(b) of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure. Maria
timely appealed, challenging the courts ...