Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PHELPS COUNTY Honorable Mark D.
W. SHEFFIELD, C.J.
Oliver Peter John Amick ("Father") appeals from the
trial court's judgment modifying visitation under a
parenting plan revised after relocation. The judgment adopted
a proposed joint parenting plan which Stephanie G. Smart
("Mother") had attached to the relocation notice
she provided to Father. In his sole point relied on, Father
claims the trial court misapplied the law when it granted the
motion to modify the parenting plan because Mother's
relocation notice did not strictly comply with Section
452.377. Father's claim is without merit
because Mother's notice of relocation did comply with the
statute. The trial court's judgment is affirmed.
and Procedural Background
2009, Father was adjudged to be the biological father of
P.A.S. ("Child"). The parties were granted joint
legal and physical custody of Child, and Mother's
residence was designated Child's principal residence for
mailing and education purposes.
7, 2016, Mother sent a letter ("the relocation
notice") by certified mail informing Father that she
planned to relocate Child's residential address. Among
its contents, the relocation notice stated Mother intended to
relocate to Chattanooga, Tennessee, but did not have a
specific address yet and the relocation would take place
sixty days after Father received the notification. Enclosed
with the letter was a revised joint parenting plan with
changes in visitation. Father received the relocation notice
and the proposed joint parenting plan on June 13, 2016, but
filed no response.
27, 2016, Mother filed a motion to revise the parenting plan
without a hearing under Section 452.377.6. On July 28, 2016,
the trial court approved the proposed revised joint parenting
plan without a hearing. Over the weekend spanning Thursday,
August 4, 2016, to Monday, August 8, 2016, Mother moved with
Child to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
August 8, 2016, Father filed a motion objecting to
Mother's relocation notice and a separate motion to set
aside the trial court's modification judgment. In his
objection to Mother's relocation notice, Father argued
the relocation notice did not comply with Section 452.377.2
because it did not state the specific mailing address for the
proposed relocation and because it did not state the specific
date of the proposed relocation.
trial court held a hearing regarding Father's motion to
set aside the judgment in which the trial court specifically
considered the sufficiency of Mother's relocation notice.
Both Father and Mother testified at the
hearing.Father stated he received the relocation
notice and the proposed joint parenting plan but the proposed
joint parenting plan had a post-it note on it from Mother
which said, "[w]e can discuss and change if
needed." He asserted he objected to the proposed joint
parenting plan. Mother testified that when she planned the
move she was not certain of the exact address in Chattanooga
where she was going to live. Her employer owned and managed
rental properties, so while she was trying to find housing
closer to Child's school, she always "knew that
there would be a few houses that [she] could choose
from." She did not decide on the exact address until a
few days before she moved.
trial court denied Father's motion to set aside the
judgment. It found Mother's relocation notice complied
with Section 452.377 "in all respects" and
determined Father's objections to Mother's proposed
relocation were filed outside the thirty-day time limit
provided by the statute. Father appeals.
In his sole point relied on, Father claims:
The trial court erred in granting Respondent's motion to
revise the parenting plan and applicable visitation schedule
and relocation of the minor child without a hearing, which
was entered by a modification judgment on July 28, 2016,
because the trial court misapplied the law, in that, the
trial court required strict compliance by both parties with
Section 452.377 RSMo, when in fact the notice given by
Respondent did not strictly comply with said relocation
the relocation notice did not strictly comply with the
statute, Father argues that the trial court misapplied the
law in requiring his objection to the relocation to be timely
filed. This argument is without merit because ...