KIMBERLY A. QUINTY
STEVEN W. JOHNSON
Submitted On Briefs: May 25, 2017
District Court docket number FM-2010-126
E. Prescott, Esq., Prescott Jamieson Murphy Law Group, LLC,
Saco, for appellant Kimberly A. Quinty
Robidas, Esq., Robidas Law, LLC, Portland, for appellee
Steven W. Johnson
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Kimberly A. Quinty appeals from the judgment of the District
Court [York, Janelle, J.) granting Steven W.
Johnson's motion to dismiss her motion to extend the
spousal support provision of the couple's 2011 divorce
judgment. Quinty argues on appeal that the court misapplied
19-A M.R.S. §951-A(4) and (9) (2016) when it concluded
that reinstating the award of spousal support after the
obligation to pay spousal support had expired was prohibited
by law. We affirm the judgment.
Quinty and Johnson were married in 1991. After eighteen years
of marriage, Quinty filed a complaint for divorce from
Johnson in 2010. On March 9, 2011, after an uncontested
hearing, the parties were divorced by entry of a divorce
judgment [Cantara, /.), which incorporated the
parties' negotiated settlement agreement, dated February
24, 2011. Pursuant to that agreement, Johnson was ordered to
pay Quinty general spousal support for a period of five
years, beginning on March 1, 2011, and ending with a final
payment on February 29, 2016.
On July 8, 2016, Quinty filed a motion to modify the divorce
judgment to reinstate and to extend the term of the spousal
support obligation pursuant to 19-A M.R.S. § 951-A(4).
Johnson timely filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that
Quinty's motion failed to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. See M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Johnson
asserted that when his spousal support obligation terminated
on February 29, 2016, Quinty's ability to request a
modification expired. Quinty objected to Johnson's motion
to dismiss, arguing that the divorce judgment did not
expressly terminate the court's authority to modify the
spousal support award.
On September 23, 2016, the court (Janelle, J.) held
a non-testimonial hearing on the motion to dismiss and issued
an order granting the motion that day. Citing 19-A M.R.S.
§ 951-A(9) and Pettinelli v. Yost, 2007 ME 121,
¶ 19, 930 A.2d 1074, the court concluded that
Johnson's obligation to pay spousal support had ceased on
February 29, 2016, and that Quinty's "belated
attempt to reinstate spousal support" was barred by both
statute and case law. Quinty timely filed a notice of appeal.
See 14 M.R.S. §1901 (2016); M.R.App. P. 2.
When we review a trial court's grant of a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss, we review the legal sufficiency of the
pleading de novo and view the pleading in the light most
favorable to the party filing the pleading to determine
whether it sets forth elements of a cause of action or
alleges facts that would entitle that party to relief
pursuant to some legal theory. See Andrews v. Sheepscot
Island Co., 2016 ME 68, ¶ 8, 138 A.3d 1197.
A court may award spousal support to a party in a divorce
proceeding pursuant to 19-A M.R.S. § 951-A (2016). For a
spousal support award issued before October 1, 2013, section
951-A(4) provides: "An award of spousal support issued
before October 1, 2013[, ] is subject to modification when it
appears that justice requires unless and to the extent the
order awarding or modifying spousal support expressly states
that the award, in whole or in part, is not subject to future
modification." However, "[t]he complete termination
of a spousal support award pursuant to the terms ...