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Blomenkamp v. Blomenkamp

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

April 28, 2015

GALE W. BLOMENKAMP, Appellant,
v.
POLLY A. BLOMENKAMP, Respondent

Page 430

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BOONE COUNTY. THE HONORABLE ROBERT R. STERNER, JUDGE.

Helen L. Wade, Columbia, MO for appellant.

Gary L. Stamper, Columbia, MO for respondent.

BEFORE DIVISION ONE: THOMAS H. NEWTON, PRESIDING JUDGE, LISA WHITE HARDWICK AND ANTHONY REX GABBERT. ALL CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 431

LISA WHITE HARDWICK, J.

Gale Blomenkamp (Father) appeals from a judgment granting Polly Blomenkamp's (Mother) motion for modification of child support and child custody. Father contends the circuit court erred in: (1) finding a change of circumstances to support the child support modification; (2) calculating the amount of child support; and (3) finding the statutory requirements were met to justify a change of custody. For reasons explained herein, we find no error and affirm the judgment.

Factual and Procedural History

Gale Blomenkamp and Polly Blomenkamp were divorced on December 22, 2005. The dissolution judgment awarded the parties joint physical and legal custody of their two children, Krista and Bo, who were eleven years old and six years old respectively at the time of the divorce. The court approved a parenting plan whereby the parties agreed to alternate physical custody of the children every other week and neither party paid child support. This custody arrangement continued until late November 2011, when Krista moved in with Mother on a full-time basis. At that time, Krista was seventeen years old and had become dissatisfied that Father did not treat her more like an adult. Bo continued to spend alternate weeks at both parents' homes after Krista moved in with Mother.

On February 17, 2012, Mother filed a Motion to Modify the Dissolution Judgment, in which she sought sole physical custody of Krista, an award of child support, and an order requiring the parties to proportionately share the children's college expenses. After a hearing in January 2013, the court granted the motion. The court found a change of circumstances had occurred because the " de facto move by Krista is evidence of a voluntary relinquishment of custody by Father." The court made the following findings in awarding Mother sole physical custody of Krista:

The Court finds there has been a change in the circumstances of Krista Blomenkamp and of Mother since the decree of dissolution of marriage, and that modification of the decree to change physical custody from joint to sole in Mother is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. To fail to recognize that the 18-year-old daughter has not stayed overnight with her father's family more than occasionally for well over a year, has no intention of living in her father's household, graduates high school in the spring of 2013, plans to undergo Marine basic training and become a U.S. Marine reserve, and is to become a University of Missouri student when her Marine training and scholarship opportunity allow is to perpetuate a fiction of joint physical custody of this child which the Blomenkamps have long since left behind.

The modification judgment also ordered child support as follows:

[Father] is ordered to pay as child support one-third of the cost of post-secondary education costs and the amount of $786 per month for so long as he is obligated to pay support for both children, of which $573 is for Krista and $213 is for Bo; and [Father] is ordered to pay as child support one-third of the cost of post-secondary education costs and the amount of $213 for so long as he is obligated to pay support for Bo only.

Father appeals the custody and child support award in the judgment of modification.

Page 432

Standard of Review

Our review of a modification of dissolution of marriage decree is limited to determining whether the judgment is supported by substantial evidence, whether it is against the weight of the evidence, or whether it erroneously declares or applies the law. Selby v. Smith, 193 S.W.3d 819, 824 (Mo. App. 2006). In applying this standard, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the judgment, disregarding all contrary evidence and giving deference to the trial court's determinations of credibility. Mehra v. Mehra, 819 S.W.2d 351, 353 (Mo. banc 1991). The determination to award a modification in child support lies within the discretion of the trial court, whose decision will be reversed " only for abuse of discretion or misapplication of the law." Smith, 193 S.W.3d at 824. Giving similar deference, we will not set aside a ...


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