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Jessen v. Jessen

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

September 30, 2014

JAMY L. JESSEN, Appellant,
v.
AARON J. JESSEN, Appellant

Page 426

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County, Missouri. The Honorable James Bradley Funk, Judge.

Robert Walter Wheeler, Keytesville, MO, Counsel for Appellant.

Michele Christinia Puckett-Burkhead, Cameron, MO, Counsel for Respondent.

Before Division Two: Victor C. Howard P.J., James E. Welsh, Anthony Rex Gabbert JJ. All concur.

OPINION

Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge

Page 427

Jamy L. Jessen (" Mother" ) appeals the circuit court's judgment modifying the decree of dissolution. Mother raises four points on appeal. First, Mother argues that the circuit court erred because the judgment decree failed to follow all of the announced points of the oral agreement made on the record in open court. Second, Mother argues that the circuit court erred in finding Mother in contempt of court because (1) her conduct was to protect her children and not to directly disobey the court order; (2) the police placed the two children in her custody after a violent episode on June 7, 2011 by Aaron J. Jessen (" Father" ); (3) the children did not have contact with the Stepfather; and (4) the decree came nine months after the hearing of April 24, 2012, violating § 517.111, RSMo 2000. Third, Mother argues that the circuit court erred in awarding Father attorney's fees and requiring her to pay the remaining GAL fees because the evidence suggests that there is no justification for requiring her to pay the attorney's fees or GAL fees. Fourth, Mother argues that the circuit court erred in its order correcting judgment because Father had not even filed a motion asking for the relief granted. We affirm in part and dismiss in part.

Factual Background

The marriage between Father and Mother was dissolved on January 26, 2007. During the marriage, Father and Mother had two daughters. The original dissolution

Page 428

decree awarded Father and Mother joint legal and physical custody of their two children. The parties were to alternate physical custody with Father ordered to pay Mother child support.

On May 19, 2010, the decree was modified. While both Father and Mother were again awarded joint legal and physical custody of their two children, Father's address was to be designated for mailing and educational purposes. Mother was to pay child support and the two children were to attend school in the school district where Father resided. On April 14, 2011, Mother filed a motion to modify dissolution decree and a motion for temporary custody pendent lite. Father filed an answer and counter motion to modify and motion for contempt, alleging, in part, that Gary Brown (" Stepfather" ) had contact with the two daughters, which was specifically prohibited in the modified judgment.

On June 7, 2011, Mother failed to return the two daughters to Father. After failing to return the children, Father filed a writ of habeas corpus to return the two children to him.

On August 25, 2011, the hearing for custody, attorney's fees, GAL fees, contempt, and the writ of habeas corpus was commenced.[1] The court moved the custody hearing and the determination of attorney's fees and GAL fees to a later date. On the other issues, the court found Mother in contempt finding that Stepfather had contact with the two daughters which was prohibited by the modified judgment. The court also found that Mother had the two children since June 7, 2011, which was against the terms of the modified judgment. The court ordered the two children be returned to Father immediately.

On April 24, 2012, the hearing on the issues of custody, attorney's fees, apportionment of the GAL fee, and any sanctions for having previously found Mother in contempt was commenced. After the morning break, a partial agreement between the parties was entered in open court. The only remaining points for the court to decide were (1) the amount of child support Mother is to pay and when such payments are to begin; (2) how the GAL fee is to be apportioned; (3) who is to pay attorney's fees; (4) what ...


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