Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF DENT COUNTY Honorable Judge Sidney
T. Pearson III
W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.
Scott Taylor ("Husband") appeals from the trial
court's judgment dissolving his marriage to Colleen
Melissa Taylor ("Wife") and dividing their marital
property. Husband raises three points relied on, challenging
the trial court's classification and division of
property. Husband's points are without merit
because they ignore the standard of review, and the trial
court's judgment is affirmed.
and Procedural Background
and Wife were married in 1987. In 2012, Husband told Wife he
had been having affairs. Husband and Wife separated in March
2015, and Husband thereafter filed for dissolution of the
trial court held a two-day trial at which the primary issues
involved the classification, valuation, and division of the
parties' property. The property involved included
numerous vehicles, pieces of farm equipment, guns, three
parcels of real estate, several bank accounts, and several
retirement accounts. The trial court entered its judgment
dissolving the parties' marriage on March 22, 2016. As
relevant to the issues on appeal, the judgment included the
finding that Wife's non-marital property included
"$60, 000.00 from her non-marital contribution into the
marital residence" and that $5, 000 of Wife's
non-marital property was contributed to purchase a second
home owned by the parties. In addition to its other awards
and as relevant to the issues raised in this appeal, the
trial court awarded the marital home to Wife and awarded the
second home, a parcel of hunting land, and a closed bank
account valued at $13, 286 to Husband.
following standard of review applies to each of the points
Husband raises. The judgment in a dissolution case "must
be affirmed unless it is unsupported by substantial evidence,
it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously
declares or applies the law." Wansing v.
Wansing, 277 S.W.3d 760, 766 (Mo. App. S.D. 2009).
Moreover, this Court views "the evidence and reasonable
inferences therefrom in a light most favorable to the
prevailing party and disregard[s] contradictory
evidence." Id. (quoting McCallum v.
McCallum, 128 S.W.3d 62, 65 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003)).
"The trial judge may believe or disbelieve all, part, or
none of the testimony of any witness, and the court may
disbelieve testimony even when uncontradicted."
Nelson v. Nelson, 25 S.W.3d 511, 518 (Mo. App. W.D.
2000) (quoting Gerhard v. Gerhard, 985 S.W.2d 927,
930 (Mo. App. S.D. 1999)). This Court will "defer to the
trial court's determinations of credibility[.]"
Wansing, 277 S.W.3d at 766.
One: Classification of Property
first point, Husband challenges the trial court's
classification of two contributions Wife made to the
acquisition of marital real estate. First, he challenges the
classification of Wife's $60, 000 contribution to the
marital home. Second, he challenges the classification of
Wife's $5, 000 contribution to the second
home. He suggests the property was transmuted to
marital property through joint titling. These arguments
ignore the standard of review.
452.330.1 requires the trial court to determine what property
is separate and what is marital, set apart to each spouse
each spouse's non-marital property, and divide the
marital property as it deems just." In re Marriage
of Dolence, 231 S.W.3d 331, 336 (Mo. App. S.D. 2007).
Moreover, "[t]here is a statutory presumption that all
property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage
is marital." Id. at 337. One exception to this
presumption is where property is acquired in exchange for
property acquired prior to the marriage. To overcome the
presumption in such cases, "a party must show that the
property was acquired in exchange for property accumulated
prior to the marriage and prove by clear and convincing
evidence that there was no intent to make a provision for, a
settlement in favor of, or a gift to the other spouse."
Willyard v. Willyard, 719 S.W.2d 91, 93 (Mo. App.
E.D. 1986). This presumption can be overcome, for example,
where there is evidence that the second spouse's name was
included on the title at the insistence of a third party
accompanied by testimony of the second spouse acknowledging
the separate interest of the first spouse. Id.
argument with respect to Wife's contribution to the
marital home is without merit because it ignores evidence
favorable to the trial court's ruling. Here, Wife
testified that when she and Husband were first married they
lived in a home on property she had inherited from her
father. Over the next several years, the couple worked as a
team to improve that property. In 1994, Husband bullied her
into putting his name on the deed because of the work he had
done. At that time, the property was worth about $60, 000.
They subsequently sold that property and received
approximately $127, 000. Husband and Wife then used $100, 000
of that money to pay the down payment on the marital home.
in his testimony at trial, Husband agreed that the first
property was originally Wife's separate property.
Although he believed the property was worth only $22, 000 he
agreed that Wife inherited the property from her father and
that it was not deeded to them as husband and wife until
1994. Wife's testimony that Husband bullied her into
changing the title, when accompanied by Husband's
admission that ...