Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
TERRI L. BEERMANN, Respondent,
JEFFREY L. JONES, Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri The
Honorable Abe Shafer, V, Judge.
Before: James Edward Welsh, P.J., Lisa White Hardwick, and
Gary D. Witt, JJ.
EDWARD WELSH, PRESIDING JUDGE.
L. Jones appeals the circuit court's judgment modifying
his child support obligations for his son. Jones asserts two
points on appeal. First, he contends that the circuit court
erred in ordering a retroactive increase in his child support
for the time periods of January 1, 2015, to August 30, 2015,
and September 1, 2015, to beyond October 18, 2015, because
the circuit court did not have discretion to retroactively
modify child support for the time before the filing of his
ex-wife's counter-motion to modify child support and
service of summons. Second, he claims that the circuit court
erred in ordering a retroactive increase of child support
commencing on September 1, 2015, and continuing beyond the
date of judgment because the circuit court failed to consider
whether there was any duplication or redundancy of expenses
covered by the child support payment and failed to consider
the child's own ability to support himself. We affirm in
part and reverse in part.
marriage of Jones and Terri L. Beermann was dissolved in
November 1998. Jones and Beermann have one child, a son born
in 1997. Pursuant to terms of a previous modification
judgment, Jones agreed that he would pay 100 percent of his
son's college expenses.
January 16, 2015, Jones filed a motion to modify his child
support obligation. In his motion he sought a reduction in
his child support of $560 because he claimed that the incomes
of the parties had changed and because the child would be
attending college and he would be paying 100 percent of the
child's college expenses. On April 22, 2015, Beermann
filed a "Motion and Application to Hold Respondent in
Contempt of Court, or, in the Alternative, Motion to Enforce
the November 14, 2008, Judgment and Decree of Modification
Regarding Reimbursement for the Cost of Non-Covered Medical
Expenses; Extraordinary Expenses; and College Expenses."
On October 9, 2015, Beermann filed a counter-motion to modify
child support. Beermann sought an increase in Jones's
child support because she claimed that the child was spending
more time with her or at college, that Jones's income had
increased, that the child's expenses had increased, and
that she had paid most of the child's direct expenses. On
January 27, 2016, the circuit court held a trial.
evidence at trial established that the parties' son
started college in late August or September 2015 at the
University of Missouri. Pursuant to the terms of a
modification judgment in 2001, Jones agreed to pay 100
percent of his son's college expenses. For his prior
military service, Jones had available to him a post-9/11 GI
Bill, which entitled him to receive financial benefits paying
80 percent of college expenses. Pursuant to the terms of the
post-9/11 GI Bill, Jones was able to transfer these benefits
to his son. Thus, after the payments from the post-9/11 GI
Bill, Jones was responsible for paying the remaining 20
percent of his son's college expenses, which amounted to
trial, Jones submitted a Form 14, which showed his monthly
income as $11, 835, Beermann's monthly income as $11,
030, $96 as the cost of health insurance provided by Beermann
for the child, and a presumed child support amount of $1, 006
presented two options for the circuit court to consider
regarding his child support obligation. First, he requested
that the court reduce his Form 14 amount by his monthly
out-of-pocket contribution of $363 for his son's college
expenses and by a monthly amount of $484, which represented
the amount that Jones felt his son should be required to pay
for his own support. In other words, Jones requested that the
circuit court set his monthly child support amount at
second option, Jones requested that the circuit court
consider utilizing the Form 14 amount of $1, 006 for a period
of 4 months, which represented the months during which his
son would presumably reside at Beermann's residence
during summer, winter, and holiday breaks for a total of $4,
024, and prorate that amount for 12 months for a monthly
child support obligation of $335 per month, which would be in
addition to his obligation to pay his son's college
testified that his child support obligation should be reduced
because he is paying 100 percent of his son's college
expenses and asked that the reduced child support payments be
retroactive to the beginning of the fall 2015 school year.
testified that her son would be at school 63.8 percent of the
time and that the remaining time her son would live with her.
Beermann said that she believed that the variable expenses
portion of the child support should be reduced by 63.8
percent because of the time that her son would be living at
college and not with her. Although Jones testified that he
had received information that his son would be leasing an
apartment and not going home to live with Beermann for the
summer, Beermann said that her son was going to sub-let the
apartment and return home to live with her for the summer.
Beermann said that her son was "absolutely"
planning on being home during the summer.
29, 2016, the circuit court entered its amended judgment. The
circuit court adopted Jones's Form 14 and found that the
presumed child support amount of $1, 006 for the time period
from January 1, 2015, to August 30, 2015, was just and
time period from September 1, 2015, to December 21, 2015, the
circuit court found that it should deviate from the presumed
child support amount of $1, 006, which the court found to be
unjust and inappropriate due to the minor ...