Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

for Missourians struggling with divorce and family law matters

Category Archives: Family Law

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Spousal Maintenance (f/k/a alimony) reduced based on medical disability

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Child Support and Alimony, Financial Issues, Modifications
Recent Missouri case:  On a motion to modify (reduce) maintenance, evidence of a substantial and continuing change included “detailed evidence” of Movant Husband’s stroke-induced disability and reduced income, and no evidence of an increase in Wife’s income was necessary. The trial court: (1) did not abuse its discretion in dismissing ex-wife’s motion to dismiss under… Continue Reading

Guardianship of children approved upon showing of unfitness and inability to parent

Posted in Adoption and Guardianship, Child Abuse, Custody and Visitation, Family Law
Recent Case from the Court of Appeals:   Letters of Guardianship Affirmed Mother appeals from the trial court’s judgment, which appointed Petitioners as guardians over two minor children. The trial court’s judgment found the children’s parents (Mother and three separate fathers) unwilling, unable, or unfit to fulfill their duties as guardians under Section 475.030.4(2). On… Continue Reading

Modification of Another State’s Custody Order Depends on The Other State Releasing Jurisdiction

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Family Law, Modifications
Recent Case from the Court of Appeals:  States have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over their custody judgments until released by the rendering state. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act conditions authority of any State to modify another State’s custody order on whether the residences of parties or child remain in the other State, as… Continue Reading

Child support continued for child over age 18 with mental disability

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Financial Issues
Recent Case from the Missouri Court of Appeals: Mother appeals from a judgment modifying her child support obligation to continue support for a child beyond the age of eighteen. Mother argues that it was against the weight of the evidence to find the child mentally incapacitated from supporting himself, and that no substantial evidence supported… Continue Reading

Modification of spousal support order requires substantial and continuing change in circumstances

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property-Debt Division
Recent Case:  From the Missouri Court of Appeals, Modification of Spousal Support vs. Property Division Appellant Husband appeals the trial court’s judgment reducing, but not terminating, his maintenance obligation, retroactive to February 2015, and awarding Wife attorney’s fees. Missouri statutes allow modification of spousal maintenance when circumstances change, the change is substantial and continuing, and… Continue Reading

New Missouri Child Support Guidelines and Amounts to take effect July 1, 2017

Posted in Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues
From the Supreme Court of Missouri: “It is ordered that effective July 1, 2017, Civil Procedure Form No. 14, entitled “Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet”, along with the directions, comments for use, and examples for completion thereto, by and the same are hereby repealed and a new Civil Procedure Form No. 14 entitled “Child Support… Continue Reading

Failure to include holiday or vacation schedule in parenting plan is trial court error; Voluntary reduction in Income does not support reduction in child support

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Modifications
Recent Case from the Missouri Court of Appeals:  Parenting plans must contain holiday and vacation schedules; voluntary reduction in income does not support child support reduction Mother appeals the trial court’s judgment of modification for a failure to properly apply the law and abusing its discretion in its judgment of modification. Mother contends, in relevant… Continue Reading

Restrictions on visitation, and subsequent removal of them, both require a ruling on child’s best interest

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Custody and Visitation, Family Law, Financial Issues, Modifications
Recent Case:  When a custody order contains restricted visitation, those restrictions must not be lifted, or even phased out, until a subsequent hearing to determine whether removal of the restrictions is in the child’s best interest. Evidence that Father has not sought employment within his expertise supported an imputation of income for determining child support. … Continue Reading

New Missouri custody law seeks to maximize time with each parent, takes effect August 28

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
Governor Jay Nixon signed House bill 1550 into law on July 1, 2016, which takes effect August 28, 2016.  This law has been dubbed as an equal custody law, or 50/50 custody law, but that is not an entirely accurate description.  Rather than specifically stating that custody should be equal, the bill’s wording is to… Continue Reading

LAGERS Pension divided as a future asset

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property Division, Property-Debt Division
Recent Case:  LAGERS Pension present value of zero but future payment divided Missouri Statutes require division of marital property, including local government retirement system benefits. The Circuit court treated the defined benefit pension as a future asset, requiring the beneficiary to pay the ex-spouse a fixed amount of the future payment, and assigning zero present… Continue Reading

Marijuana use not grounds for termination of parental rights

Posted in Child Abuse, Child Custody and Visitation, Family Law, Guardian Ad Litem, Parenting and Adoption, Trials
Recent Case: Marijuana use under the level of chemical dependency not grounds for termination of parental rights Father appeals from the judgment terminating his parental rights. Grounds for termination of parental rights require clear and convincing evidence, so Court of Appeals examines evidence contrary to judgment.  Grounds include abuse or neglect and failure to rectify. … Continue Reading

Modification of Maintenance appropriate on Voluntary Retirement and Increase in Resources of Obligee; No entitlement to attorney fees just because of lesser income.

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Modifications
Recent Case:  Wife appeals Judgment of the Circuit Court modifying her spousal maintenance award and denial of attorney fees Statutes base maintenance on, and limit it to, need, and allow modification when a substantial and continuing change in circumstances make the initial award unfair.  Such change may include involuntary retirement, on which the record supports… Continue Reading

2 year statute of limitations applies to set aside a paternity and child support order, even if fraud exists.

Posted in Child Support, Family Law, Financial Issues, Paternity
Mother and Father (T.B.) had a baby in 2000.  Mother told T.B. he was the father, and he signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity.  The Family Support Division made an administrative determination that T.B. was the legal father, and ordered T.B. to pay child support for the child in February 2001. Sometime prior to June 2010,… Continue Reading

Spousal Support (Maintenance) Denied in Missouri Divorce

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Getting a Divorce, Property-Debt Division
Recent Case: Missouri Court of Appeals upholds Judgment denying spousal support when sufficient property is awarded Wife appeals from the trial court’s judgment that dissolved her marriage with Husband, divided marital property and marital debt, and denied her an award of maintenance. Wife challenges only the trial court’s denial of an award of maintenance. Judgment… Continue Reading

Child’s refusal to visit other parent no excuse to violate custody order; Parent held in Contempt

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Family Law, Legal Proceedings
Recent Missouri Case:     Parent responsible for violating the court order when child refuses to visit the other parent as required in the court ordered parenting plan Appellant D.R.P. (“Mother”) appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court of Jackson County holding her in civil contempt of the court’s judgment regarding the parenting plan for M.P.P. (“Father”)… Continue Reading

All financial resources can be considered for support, but parent must have some level of control over gifts and inheritances to count as income

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Modifications
Courts Bulletin: No financial resource is exempt from the court’s consideration for child support and maintenance calculation purposes. However, financial gifts from a parent or third party and lump-sum inheritances/financial gifts are considered as to the level of control a parent has over said gifts and how they are used. Recent Case No. 102017 (Mo. App.… Continue Reading

Stock Split is Marital Property in Missouri Divorce

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, Property-Debt Division
Recent Case:  Split of Stock awarded to spouse is property of that spouse Wife appeals the judgment of contempt of the Circuit Court of St. Charles County ordering her to transfer 960 shares of stock to Husband. Decision upheld Because the dissolution judgment awarded Husband 96 shares of Wife’s unvested MasterCard stock and the stock… Continue Reading

Guardian Ad Litem recommendation not binding; Custody findings required; Property division must be fair, not necessarily equal

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Family Law, Guardian Ad Litem, Property Division, Property-Debt Division
Recent Ruling:  Court not required to follow Guardian Ad Litem Recommendation, Specific findings under the 8 statutory factors required in Judge tried case Father appeals from the trial court’s dissolution judgment as to child custody and property division in favor of his former spouse, Mother. Father asserts that the trial court erred by: (1) failing… Continue Reading

Property division in Missouri divorce is final and cannot be modified

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property-Debt Division, Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel, Retirement Plans and Division
Recent Case:  Division of Property is final and non-modifiable in divorce proceedings.  Statute enacted after the end of divorce case does not apply retroactively. In a recent case from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Wife appeals the trial court’s determination that her agreement to turn over her survivor interest in her former husband’s (“Father”) pension… Continue Reading

Relocation approved, custody changed from joint custody to sole custody

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Modifications
Recent case:  Relocation must be in good faith and in children’s best interests; sole custody award appropriate when parents cannot jointly make decisions. In a recent case from the Missouri Supreme Court, a mother sought to modify a judgment dissolving her marriage that had granted the parents joint legal and joint physical custody of their… Continue Reading

Conduct not to level of stalking to support protection order

Posted in Domestic Abuse, Family Law, Spousal Abuse
Recent Case:  Respondent’s conduct did not rise to the level of stalking to support an order of protection. Respondent appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting a full order of protection in favor of Petitioner.  Respondent argues the trial court erred in granting a full order of protection under Section 455.040 because Petitioner… Continue Reading

Employer required to garnish child support

Posted in Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Financial Issues
Recent case: Employer is required by law to comply with child support wage garnishment orders from the Family Support Division The employer of a father ordered to pay child support appeals the trial court’s judgments in favor of the Department of Social Services Family Support Division after the employer failed to comply with income withholding… Continue Reading

Attorney fee expenses cannot be considered part of reasonable monthly expenses in maintenance modification

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Family Law, Financial Issues, Modifications
Recent case: Attorney fees are not a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that supports a modification of maintenance, especially when the fees are for the modification case. Husband appeals the judgment modifying the divorce decree increasing his maintenance obligation from $4000 to $4400 per month. Holding: Reversed and remanded to trial Court The trial… Continue Reading

10 facts about divorce that every divorcing parent should consider

Posted in Family Law, Getting a Divorce, Marriage and Family
The following points are from a recent article on today.com, published by a divorce mediator.  If you are in the middle of a divorce or contemplating a divorce in Missouri, these are all excellent points to think about. 10 facts about divorce you should consider: 1.     Even if you are the one who wants to… Continue Reading