Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Audrain County. 09AU-DR00049-01.
Honorable Michael S. Wright.
APPELLANT: Ronald S. Ribaudo, Ballwin, MO; Christina N.
Strange McCartney, Columbia, MO.
RESPONDENT: Robert V. Krueger, Jr., Mexico, MO.
M. CLAYTON III, Judge. Patricia L. Cohen, P.J., and Roy L.
Richter, J., concur.
M. CLAYTON III, Judge
Adams Jones (" Father" ) appeals the trial
court's judgment denying his motion to modify his child
support obligation, finding Jamie Lee Kropf ("
Mother" ) had not relocated with the parties' minor
child, and ordering Father to pay a portion of Mother's
attorney's fees. We affirm.
parties were married in June 2006 and had a child together in
June 2009 (" Child" ). In March 2010, the trial
court entered a judgment dissolving the parties'
marriage, and an amended judgment was entered in May 2010.
The amended dissolution judgment awarded Mother sole physical
custody of Child, awarded Father visitation, awarded the
parties joint legal custody, and ordered Father to pay Mother
$1,200 per month in child support.
determining Father's monthly child support obligation to
be $1,200, the trial court imputed a monthly gross income of
$2,080 to Mother. The court also found that Father, a
pipeline welder, had a monthly gross income of $11,801, an
amount which included money Father received for rig pay and
per diem pay. Using the parties' monthly gross
incomes, the trial court found Father's Form
14 presumed child support obligation was
$1,544 per month. However, the trial court found the presumed
child support amount was unjust and inappropriate and instead
ordered Father to pay Mother $1,200 per month in child
the trial court entered its amended dissolution judgment,
Father filed a motion to modify seeking to reduce his monthly
child support amount and increase his visitation with Child.
With respect to child support, Father's motion alleged a
substantial and continuing change in circumstances had
occurred because there was a change in his income. Father
requested an increase in visitation in part because Mother
had allegedly moved from her prior address and failed to give
notice of the new address to Father. Mother filed a
counter-motion requesting, inter alia,
Father's motion to modify nor Mother's counter-motion
requested the trial court to provide findings of fact or
conclusions of law in its judgment. A bench trial was held on
the parties' motions in February 2014. Father, Mother,
and Jesse Deere were among the witnesses who testified at the
testified at the bench trial that his taxable gross income
had decreased since the amended dissolution judgment, because
the Internal Revenue Service (" IRS" ) no longer
deemed his rig pay and per diem pay as part of his gross
income for tax purposes. Father stated his taxable gross
monthly wages were $8,033, and he also received a total of
approximately $4,000 in rig pay and per diem pay each month.
Father testified his employer sometimes required him to
travel for his job and incur employment-related expenses for
work clothing, work truck ownership and maintenance, work
tools, mileage, lodging, and food. Father's testimony
indicated that his rig pay and per diem pay were not
dollar-for-dollar reimbursements for employment-related
expenses Father incurred but instead represented a general
allocation for anticipated expenses. Father testified he
received rig pay at a rate of $17 per hour for each hour he
worked for reimbursement of anticipated expenses for work
clothing, owning and operating a work truck and tools, and
mileage. Father also testified he received per diem pay at a
rate ranging from $102.50 to $165 per day for reimbursement
of anticipated expenses for out-of-town lodging and food.
Although Father stated that his rig pay and per diem pay were
no longer subject to federal income taxes at the time of the
modification proceedings, Father admitted there was nothing
else different about how he received rig pay and per diem pay
at the time of the original dissolution proceedings.
testified she and Child resided at Mother's parents'
home in Mexico, Missouri following the parties' 2010
divorce and until the February 2014 bench trial on
Father's motion to modify.
testified at the bench trial that he was in a romantic
relationship with Mother from 2010 to 2011. Deere also
testified Mother and Child moved into his home in 2010 and
they spent 50 to 75 percent of their time there. Deere stated
his relationship with Mother was " rocky" and there
were several breakups interspersed throughout their
relationship. Deere also stated there would be nights Mother
and Child would spend the night at Deere's home and then
return to their permanent residence with Mother's
parents. Deere admitted Mother never physically changed her
address from her parents to Deere's address and most of
Mother's personal property and belongings remained at her
permanent residence with her parents.
April 2014, the trial court entered a judgment denying
Father's motion to modify his child support obligation,
finding Mother had not relocated with Child, and ordering
Father to pay a portion of Mother's attorney's fees.
With respect to child support, the trial court found Father
had not established a change in circumstances warranting
modification, i.e., that Father had not established a
substantial and continuing change in circumstances as to make
the terms of the original child support award unreasonable.
In making its determination, the trial court prepared two
Form 14's. The only difference in the Form 14's was
the trial court used two different calculations for
Mother's reasonable work-related child care costs and
Mother's child care tax credit. Both of the trial
court's Form 14's found that Father's monthly
gross income was $12,033 and Mother's monthly gross
income was $2,271. Based upon those figures, one of the trial
court's Form 14's calculated Father's presumed
monthly child support obligation to be $1,457, and the
court's other Form 14 calculated Father's presumed
monthly child support to be $1,133. The trial court found
both of those presumed child support amounts were unjust and
inappropriate and, consistent with the amended dissolution
judgment, the court ordered Father to continue to pay Mother
$1,200 per month in child support.
respect to Mother's alleged relocation, Father's
proposed judgment requested the trial court to find "
[Mother] relocated the principal residence of [Child] and did
not provide notice to [Father] as required by Section 452.377
[ ] RSMo [2000]." However, the trial court did
not include that finding in its judgment and instead found
Mother resided at her parents' home.
trial court's judgment also ordered Father to pay Mother
$3,500 in attorney's fees. Father appeals.
raises three points on appeal. Father's first point on
appeal argues the trial court erred in finding he had not
established a change in circumstances warranting a
modification of his child support obligation. Father's
second point on appeal asserts the trial court erred in
failing to find Mother had improperly relocated with Child.
Finally, Father's third point on appeal contends the
trial court erred in ordering him to pay Mother $3,500 in
General Standard of Review
with any court-tried case, we review a trial court's
judgment modifying a dissolution decree pursuant to
Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976).
Mehler v. Martin, 440 S.W.3d 529, 531 (Mo. App. E.D.
2014). Accordingly, we will affirm the trial court's
judgment unless there is no substantial evidence to support
it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it
erroneously declares or applies the law. Id.
as in this case, neither party requested the trial court to
make findings of fact, all fact issues upon which no specific
findings are made are considered as having been found in
accordance with the result reached by the trial court.
Patz v. Patz, 412 S.W.3d 352, 355 (Mo. App. E.D.
2013); Rule 73.01(c). Moreover, we view the evidence and
inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the
judgment, and we disregard all contrary evidence and
inferences. Potts v. Potts, 303 S.W.3d 177, 184 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2010). " Judging credibility and assigning
weight to evidence and testimony are matters for the trial
court, which is free to believe none, part, or all of the
testimony of any witnesses." Id. (quotations
omitted). Consequently, we defer to the trial court's