Recent Family Law Rulings From the Missouri Court Of Appeals

Circuit Court May Depart From Recommendations On Physical Custody
Guardian ad litem and court-appointed therapist both recommended joint legal custody and supervised visitation for Father. Circuit Court followed the former but not the latter. When evidence supports an alternative award, “the trial court is not bound by the requests of any party as to custody or visitation, even when both parties agree.” No judgment required Father to pay child support and Mother forgave some of it, so Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in awarding no retroactive child support.
In re the Matter of L.J.S., by A.C.H., as next friend, and A.C.H., individually, Petitioner-Respondent, v. F.R.S., Respondent-Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District

Circuit Court Must Decide Contempt Action
Upon dismissal of motion to modify custody, guardian ad litem was discharged, and testified only as to fees, mooting motion to remove guardian. Circuit Court issued an order that Father show cause why he should not be held in contempt for failure to pay child support. Circuit Court consolidated contempt action with child support modification action for all purposes, giving notice to Father, so that Circuit Court's failure to rule on it did not result in loss of jurisdiction. Circuit Court must decide it. Record supported Circuit Court's findings as to parties' relative income.
Angela Shapiro McCoy, Appellant v. Samuel Scavuzzo, Respondent. Missouri Court of Appeals Western District

Findings Show Grounds For Termination Of Parental Rights
Presence of findings related to abuse shows that parental unfitness was not the sole grounds for termination of parental rights. Past abuse and lack of present reform raise presumption of future threat to Child's future.
In the Interest of: K.R.G., A.K.G., and R.C.G., C.G., Appellant v. The Christian County Juvenile Office, Respondent. Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District

Objection To Relocation Waived
Statute requires notice before permanently relocating children's residence. After temporary relocations, Mother gave notice of intention to permanently relocate as required by statute. Father did not file objection as required by statute and so waived objection.
Gina M. Dent, Petitioner/Respondent v. Charles W. Dent, Respondent/Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District

Source for Post: The Missouri Bar