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Poke v. Mathis

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

April 14, 2015

DEONDA L. POKE, Petitioner,
v.
ALBERT MATHIS, Respondent, AND STATE OF MISSOURI, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION, Third-Party Respondent/Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Elizabeth B. Hogan.

FOR APPELLANT: Nicole K. Bridges (Attorney for Depart. Of Social Services), House Springs, Missouri.

Deonda L. Poke, Plaintiff, Pro se, St. Louis, Missouri.

Albert Mathis, Respondent, Pro se, Florissant, Missouri.

Lisa S. Van Amburg, Judge. Lawrence E. Mooney, P. J. and Clifford H. Ahrens, J. concur.

OPINION

Lisa S. Van Amburg, Judge.

Page 41

INTRODUCTION

The Family Support Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (the " Division" ) appeals the trial court's judgment abating a portion of the child support obligation owed by Albert Mathis (" Father" ). On appeal, the Division argues the trial court erred in abating Father's child support obligation, because he failed " to plead or prove" the necessary statutory elements to justify the abatement. Because the record on appeal does not contain a transcript of the hearing, the matter is not preserved for review by this Court, and we dismiss.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Father filed in circuit court a motion for abatement of child support, in which he sought relief from child support arrears totaling $38,236.06. In his pleadings, Father claimed, inter alia, that he was incarcerated when his child support arrearage accrued, he has been unable to obtain steady employment since his release from incarceration, he has been independently employed for the majority of time since his release, and he has no other sources of income. The Division moved to dismiss Father's motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

The court held a hearing on the parties' competing motions and subsequently entered judgment granting Father partial relief, abating $25,000 of Father's $38,236.06 arrearage. In its judgment, the court stated that it granted Father an abatement after " having considered arguments of counsel, making credibility and equitable considerations [sic] as well as considering all applicable statutes and case law." The Division timely filed a motion to reconsider or a motion for new trial, which was denied after a hearing by operation of Rule 78.06.[1] The Division now appeals.[2]

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