Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
CHARLES L. BURGETT, Appellant,
TASHA R. THOMAS, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable S. Margene Burnett, Judge
Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, and Thomas H. Newton
and Gary D. Witt, Judges
PFEIFFER, CHIEF JUDGE
Charles L. Burgett ("Father") appeals, pro
se, a judgment by the Jackson County Circuit Court
("trial court") dismissing the paternity and child
custody lawsuit he brought against the mother, Ms. Tasha R.
Thomas ("Mother"), of his purported natural child,
Princess Ashe-Rena Thomas ("Child"). We affirm.
and Procedural Background
2002, Father and Mother engaged in a sexual relationship that
ultimately resulted in the birth of Child on June 16, 2003.
Child has primarily resided with Mother for most or all of
her life, residing in Johnson County, Kansas, for two years
prior to the filing of Father's lawsuit in the State of
Missouri. Child attended public school in Johnson County,
Kansas. Father appears to have had some amount of contact
with Child given that the Johnson County, Kansas, Department
for Children and Family Services ("Kansas DCF") was
notified of possible physical and/or emotional abuse
involving both Father and Mother in 2013.
relevant to the instant case, by order of the District Court
of Johnson County, Kansas ("Kansas District
Court"), Kansas DCF took Child into temporary protective
custody on February 13, 2015, and the Kansas District Court
later entered subsequent orders relating to Child in July
2015, while the Kansas District Court custody proceeding was
still pending, Father filed the instant lawsuit against
Mother in Missouri, alleging that Mother and Child live in
Missouri and not Kansas. In addition to seeking a
determination of paternity as to Child, Father also sought
primary custody of Child, an official surname change for
Child, and child support from Mother. A trial judge was
assigned to the case on June 26, 2015.
was never successfully served with process in the instant
case; instead, the process server assigned to the case
reported that the Missouri address Father provided in his
pleading was a "bad address" for Mother.
Nonetheless, Mother voluntarily entered her appearance at a
case management conference held on November 19, 2015.
trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on December 1,
2015, to determine the issue of which state-Missouri or
Kansas-had priority jurisdiction to adjudicate Father's
paternity suit pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
trial court ultimately determined that it did not have the
statutory authority to proceed with Father's case because
Missouri was not Child's home state, nor had it been
Child's home state within six months prior to the
commencement of Father's suit, and a custody proceeding
involving the Child had been commenced in Kansas that was
still pending at the time Father filed the instant suit.
Accordingly, the trial court dismissed Father's paternity
suit without prejudice by Judgment dated December 1,
the trial court's dispositive ruling on Father's
petition, Father filed an application for change of judge on
December 18, 2015. Father also filed a Rule 78.01 motion
seeking a new trial on December 29, 2015. The trial court
denied both the application for change of judge and the
motion seeking a new trial.