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Martin v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

October 11, 2016

NICOLE LYNN MARTIN, Respondent,
v.
MATTHEW RAY MARTIN, Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COLE COUNTY The Honorable Patricia S. Joyce, Judge

          Before Lisa White Hardwick, Presiding Judge and Gary D. Witt and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judges.

          LISA WHITE HARDWICK, JUDGE.

         Matthew Martin ("Father") appeals from a judgment finding him in contempt and another judgment dissolving his marriage to Nicole Lynn Martin ("Mother"). Regarding the contempt judgment, Father contends that he was not in contempt, the judgment did not set forth the facts and circumstances that constituted contempt, and the court erred in ordering him to pay attorney's fees as part of the judgment. Concerning the dissolution judgment, Father argues that the court erred in awarding Mother sole physical custody of their daughter and in valuing his retirement plans. For reasons explained herein, we dismiss Father's appeal of the contempt judgment and affirm the dissolution judgment.

         Factual and Procedural History[1]

         Father and Mother were married on April 10, 1998, and had one child ("Daughter"). They separated in May 2014. Mother filed her petition for dissolution of marriage in June 2014, and Father filed a counter-petition a month later. Daughter was 16 years old when the parties filed the dissolution petitions.

         Shortly before Mother filed her dissolution petition, there was an incident in which Mother alleged that Father cut Mother's arm with a kitchen knife. Based upon this incident, Mother filed a petition for an adult order of protection and a child order of protection on behalf of Daughter. Ex parte orders of protection were issued for Mother and Daughter.

         The court held a contested hearing on full orders of protection for both Mother and Daughter on July 17, 2014. The court entered a full adult order of protection for Mother. The court took the request for a full child order of protection under advisement and ordered that the ex parte child order of protection remain in effect pending the court's ruling in the dissolution case.

         Mother then filed a motion for temporary custody and support. The court held a hearing on the motion on October 9, 2014. Following the hearing, the court entered a temporary child custody and support order in which it ordered Father to continue to provide health insurance for Daughter and to pay Mother $523 per month in child support, retroactive from the date of service. The court further ordered that the October 2014 payment be paid directly to Mother and that subsequent payments be paid through the Family Support Payment Center by wage withholding.

         On Mother's motion, the court entered a judgment on January 27, 2015, finding Father in contempt of the October 9, 2014 temporary child custody and support order. The court found that Father's employer had never received the paperwork for the wage withholding and that Father had failed to provide child support for November and December 2014. Additionally, the court found that Father's failure to provide the court-ordered child support resulted in additional costs and attorney's fees for Mother. The court concluded that Father had completely disregarded the court's orders and directives and was, therefore, in contempt. The court ordered Father to pay $1046 in back child support and $500 in attorney's fees to Mother.

         Trial on the dissolution petition and counter-petition was held in April 2015. On April 23, 2015, the court entered its judgment dissolving the parties' marriage. In the judgment, the court awarded sole physical custody of Daughter to Mother and joint legal custody of Daughter to Mother and Father; entered a parenting plan providing for Father to have parenting time with Daughter as agreed upon by Father and Daughter; ordered Father to continue to pay $523 per month in child support; and valued and divided the parties' marital assets. Father appeals from both the contempt judgment and the dissolution judgment.

         Appealability of contempt Judgment

         Father's first three points challenge the January 27, 2015 contempt judgment entered against him. He contends that he was not in contempt, the judgment did not set forth the facts and circumstances constituting contempt, and the court erred in ordering him to pay attorney's fees as part of the judgment.

         Before we can reach the merits of Father's claims, we have a duty to determine whether we have jurisdiction to do so. Long v. Long,469 S.W.3d 10, 13 (Mo. App. 2015). We have jurisdiction to review a contempt order only if it is final and appealable. Davis v. Davis, 475 S.W.3d 177, 181 (Mo. App. 2015). A contempt order is not final and appealable until it is enforced. Emmons v. Emmons,310 S.W.3d 718, 722 (Mo. App. 2010). A contempt order is enforced through imprisonment or the imposition of a fine. Id. If the enforcement remedy is imprisonment, the contempt order is not enforced until the issuance of a warrant of commitment or ...


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