Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable Patrick William Campbell, Judge
Before: Anthony Rex Gabbert, P.J., Thomas H. Newton, and Alok
ANTHONY REX GABBERT, JUDGE.
Epanty (previously Shields) appeals the trial court's
judgment of modification for a failure to properly apply the
law and abusing its discretion in its judgment of
modification. Epanty raises five issues on appeal. In her
first point on appeal, Epanty asserts that the trial court
erred in its modification because the parenting plan failed
to include any holiday or vacation schedule for the minor
children as required by statute. Next, Epanty argues that the
modification failed to properly calculate child support
because the court failed to take into account different and
disparate overnight schedules, thereby failing to award
appellant overnight credits. Next, Epanty contends that the
judgment further failed to take into consideration the
father's voluntary reduction in income when calculating
monthly child support obligations of the parties. Epanty
further argues that the trial court erred in its child
support award calculation by failing to take into account the
fact that appellant pays the minor children's medical
insurance in the Form 14 calculation. Lastly, Epanty asserts
that the trial court erred in limiting her parenting time and
separating the minor children as it was not in the best
interests of the children and this modification was made
against the weight of the evidence. We affirm in part and
reverse in part.
and Procedural Background
parties were divorced on July 26, 2006. Two children were
born of the marriage and are the subject of the order at
issue, Malaika and Keenon Shields, ages fourteen and eleven
respectively. Previous judgments entered by the divorce court
provided for joint legal and physical custody as well as an
alternating parenting time schedule. On May 22, 2014, Shields
filed a motion to modify the parenting plan of the previous
judgment of dissolution citing a substantial and continuing
change in circumstances so as the make the terms of the
previous judgment unreasonable.
parties have a history of being unable to successfully
co-parent and an unwillingness to share parenting time as set
out by the parenting plans in previous judgments. For
example, Shields admitted on the record at trial that he has,
on more than one occasion picked up the children from school,
even on days when appellant was scheduled to have the
the previous judgment was entered, Shields has experienced a
dramatic decrease in income. Prior to the circuit court's
modification, Shields was paying child support to Epanty.
Shields asserted that he is no longer able to provide child
support because his income from his business is now zero and
he was subsequently forced to file for bankruptcy. Shields
has been sued by the government for failing to pay wage
related taxes withheld from his employees. Shields asked that
the court reduce the monthly child support payments to
$436.08 per month.
conclusion of the trial, the circuit court judge found a
substantial and continuing change in circumstance warranting
a modification. On December 22, 2015, the court issued its
judgment. The court ordered that joint legal custody be
continued. The final judgment of modification included a new
parenting schedule in which the daughter would spend more
one-on-one time with Epanty and Epanty would have both
children on the first weekend of the month. The judgment of
modification entered by the trial court contained a
completely revised parenting plan without reference to any
prior parenting plans or custody judgments. Further, the
parenting plan did not include a holiday or vacation schedule
for the minor children. The trial court adopted Shields'
proposed Form 14 child support calculation and child support
payments were set at $872.00 to be paid by Epanty to Shields
monthly. The record shows that Epanty did not provide the
trial court with a proposed Form 14. The trial court imputed
$4, 305.00 as monthly income of Shields. Epanty was ordered
to continue providing medical insurance for the minor
children. Epanty appeals.
standard of review is set forth in Murphy v. Carron,
536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976). Schollmeyer v.
Schollmeyer, 393 S.W.3d 120, 122 (Mo. App. 2013). We
will affirm the circuit court's judgment unless it is
unsupported by substantial evidence, it is against the weight
of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the
law. Id. at 122-123. We view the evidence and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
court's judgment. Id. at 123. The party
challenging the judgment has the burden of proving error.
Beckham v. Beckham, 41 S.W.3d 908, 911 (Mo. App.
Epanty's first point on appeal, she contends that the
circuit court erred in issuing the judgment of modification
because the parenting plan did not include a holiday or
vacation schedule as required by Section 452.375.9 RSMo.
452. 375.9 RSMo. provides: "[a]ny judgment providing for
custody shall include a specific written parenting plan
setting forth the terms of such parenting plan arrangements
specific in subsection 8 of section 452.310."
Simon-Harris v. Harris, 138 S.W.3d 170 (Mo. App.
2004). To prevent repeated custody and visitation disputes,
the trial court must adopt a complete and comprehensive
parenting plan. Id. A parenting plain is not fully
compliant with Section 452.375.9 if it does not contain all
of the required arrangements as set out in Section 452.310.8
RSMo. Id. A proposed parenting plan shall include
major holidays stating which holidays a party has each year,
school holidays for school-age children, the child's
birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and vacations
from school. Section ...