Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri The
Honorable Daniel Fred Kellogg, Judge
Thomas H. Newton, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Karen King
EDWARD WELSH, JUDGE
Alan Archdekin (Husband) appeals the circuit court's
judgment dissolving his marriage to Sybil Anne Archdekin
(Wife). Husband contests the court's decision to award
maintenance to Wife. We affirm in part and vacate in part.
and Procedural Background
and Wife were married in May 1994. They separated a little
over seventeen years later, and Wife filed a petition for
dissolution of the marriage in September 2011. When the
matter went to trial in 2013, the parties' three children
were ages 16, 13, and 8.
evidence at trial showed that Wife did not hold any permanent
full-time employment outside the home during the marriage.
Shortly before the parties separated, Wife began working as a
secretary at Missouri Western State University earning $1,
977 per month. Husband was a real estate developer operating
under three business entities: Archdekin Investments, Inc.,
Earthworks Excavation Company, LLC, and The Commons
Development Group, LLC. Most of the couple's assets,
including their home, were owned or collateralized by the
businesses, and the businesses paid their personal expenses.
The businesses were joined as parties to the dissolution case
and denominated Third Party Respondents.
two days of trial, the court took the matter under
advisement. Before the court pronounced judgment. The Commons
Development Group filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, resulting in
an automatic stay of any litigation related to it.
23, 2013, the trial court entered an Interlocutory Judgment
in which it found that the Third Party Respondents were the
"alter ego" of Husband and the "corporate veil
should be pierced." The court observed that Husband had
represented to lending institutions that his net worth was
over $7 million and that, while he reported a monthly income
of $2, 142, he listed no expenses for utilities, cell phone,
credit card payments, or mortgages on his two homes, as those
were paid by the businesses. In light of those facts, the
court imputed a $5, 000 monthly income to Husband and ordered
him to pay $454 a month in child support.
court divided a small amount of property owned by the parties
(as opposed to the Third Party Respondents), but, due to the
bankruptcy cases, and because Husband's assets were
"cross-collateralized with numerous lending
institutions, " the court was unable to value or award
any of the Third Party Respondents' assets at that time.
The court "tabled" the division of the Third Party
Respondents' property and assets "until the
bankruptcy stay is lifted."
trial court found that Wife could not support herself based
on her income or the assets awarded to her in the
dissolution. After considering all relevant statutory
factors, the court ordered Husband to pay to Wife
"spousal maintenance in the amount of $1, 500 per month
commencing the 1st day of November, 2011 [the date Husband
first entered his appearance in the case], until the same is
modified, either party is deceased, or [Wife]
trial court later entered a First Amended Interlocutory
Judgment, adding a declaration that the judgment was
"final for purposes of appeal as to all issues herein
addressed." Nevertheless, this Court dismissed the
appeals of Husband and the Third Party Respondents because
the trial court did not also make an express finding that
"there was no just reason for delay, " pursuant to
Rule 74.01(b). Shortly thereafter, another Third Party
Respondent, Earthworks Excavation Company, filed a petition
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
January 14, 2014, the trial court entered a Second Amended
Interlocutory Judgment, in which it corrected a clerical
error and added that the judgment was final for purposes of
appeal "as there is no just reason for delay."
Otherwise, it was identical to the prior interlocutory
judgment. This Court dismissed Husband's and the Third
Party Respondents' appeals of the 2014 Second Amended
Interlocutory Judgment as untimely.
October 2015, Husband filed a "Motion to Reopen the
Evidence and to Enter an Amended Order." In March 2016,
the court reopened the evidence to adjudicate the unresolved
property issues. It also took up Husband's motion to
reopen or amend, treating it as a motion to modify. The
parties reached an agreement on the division of property and
allocation of debt, and Wife dismissed her claims against the
Third Party Respondents. The parties also reached an
agreement about emancipation of the oldest child and custody
of the other children. As to the unresolved issues of child
support, maintenance, and attorneys' fees, Wife submitted
an updated Income and Expense Statement showing a monthly
income of $2, 100 and total expenses of over $5, 000.
Husband's updated Income and Expense Statement reported
an income of $2, 500 and expenses of $6, 600.
trial court issued its "Final Judgment" on April
19, 2016, making a final distribution of all the parties'
property and debts. The court found that a substantial and
continuing change in circumstances justified modification of
the parenting plan and child support and entered orders
emancipating the oldest child and modifying custody and child
support. As to the $1, 500 a month maintenance award, the
court found that Husband did not establish that there had
been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances
since 2014 and, thus, no modification should occur. The court
further found that, due to Husband's "income
producing capabilities, " the $5, 000 monthly income
imputed to him had not changed. The court opined that, even
if it had not treated Husband's motion as a
motion to modify, his imputed income (and the corresponding
maintenance award) would be unchanged.
any court-tried case, we will affirm the circuit court's
judgment in a dissolution proceeding 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. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc
1976). We view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the trial court's decision and disregard all evidence to
the contrary. Evans v. Evans, 45 S.W.3d 523, 526
(Mo. App. 2001).
raises six points on appeal, all of which contest the award
of maintenance. Section 452.335.1 RSMo,  sets forth a
two-step process for establishing maintenance. The trial
court must first determine whether the spouse seeking
maintenance (1) lacks sufficient property, including marital
property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable
needs, and (2) is unable to support himself through
appropriate employment. Scruggs v. Scruggs, 161
S.W.3d 383, 394 (Mo. App. 2005). If the court finds that a
spouse has met those threshold requirements, it then
considers the factors listed in section
452.335.2 to determine the amount and duration of
the award. See Dowell v. Dowell, 203 S.W.3d 271, 285
(Mo. App. 2006).
trial court has broad discretion in awarding maintenance, and
its decision will not be overturned absent an abuse of
discretion." Russum v. Russum, 214 S.W.3d 376,
380 (Mo. App. 2007). A judgment that "is so arbitrary
and unreasonable as to shock one's sense of justice"
constitutes an abuse of discretion. Calhoun v.
Calhoun, 156 S.W.3d 410, 415 (Mo. App. 2005). If
reasonable persons can differ about the propriety of the
trial court's action, it cannot be said that the court
abused its discretion. Alberty v. Alberty, 260
S.W.3d 856, 860 (Mo. App. 2008).
I and II
first two points are interrelated, and so we address them
together. Husband contends in Point I that the trial
court misapplied the law in declaring the 2014 Second Amended
Interlocutory Judgment a final judgment from which an appeal
could be taken, because it "did not dispose of all
issues, including the complete division of marital property
452.330.1 requires the circuit court to "make specific
findings as to whether each asset before the court is marital
property subject to division, is non-marital property to be
set aside, or is property over which the dissolution court
has no control." Gillette v. Gillette, 416
S.W.3d 354, 356 (Mo. App. 2013). "The court is then
required to set apart to each spouse each spouse's
non-marital property and to divide the marital property and
debt as it deems just." Id. Our courts have
consistently held that, where a trial court does not fully
divide the property of the dissolution participants,
"such decrees are not final judgments from which an
appeal can be taken." Michel v. Michel, 94
S.W.3d 485, 488 (Mo. App. 2003).
is well established that finality of judgment is necessary
for appellate jurisdiction, and for a judgment to be final it
must dispose of all parties and all issues." Joy v.
Safeway Stores, Inc., 755 S.W.2d 13, 14 (Mo. App. 1988).
Otherwise, it is an "interlocutory judgment" that
"reserves and leaves some further question or direction
for future determination and is thus not final for purposes
of appeal." Id. In a case involving multiple
claims and multiple parties, Rule 74.01(b) provides an
exception to the general rule regarding final judgments.
Atkins v. Jester, 309 S.W.3d 418, 423 (Mo. App.
2010). To utilize that exception, the trial court must
denominate the judgment as final for purposes of review and
make an express finding that "there is no just ...