Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Charles Count Honorable Terry
S. ODENWALD, JUDGE
Selleck ("Father") appeals from the motion
court's judgment increasing his monthly child-support
obligation for his minor son ("Child").
Father's sole point on appeal claims that the motion
court erred in calculating his monthly child-support
obligation because it failed to include gift money received
by Catherine Selleck ("Mother") in determining the
parties' respective incomes. Because the motion court did
not abuse its discretion in calculating Mother's income
without including any gift money, we affirm, Factual and
and Mother married in May 2006, and Child was born of the
marriage in 2007. Mother filed for divorce in March 2009.
During the divorce proceedings, the parties entered into a
settlement agreement pertaining to Child. Father and Mother
agreed to share joint legal custody of Child, but Mother
received physical custody and Father received limited
visitation and parenting time. The parties also agreed that
the presumed child-support award calculated under Form 14 was
unjust and inappropriate because Mother, who was not employed
at the time, was capable of employment. Father agreed to pay
$300 per month in child-support starting in 2012. The trial
court incorporated the settlement agreement into its
August 2014, Mother moved to modify the dissolution decree
and to find Father in contempt. Mother sought sole legal and
physical custody of Child as well as an increase in
Father's monthly child-support obligation. Mother alleged
that, due to Child's rising monthly costs and medical
expenses, there was a substantial and continuing change of
circumstance rendering the dissolution decree unreasonable.
Father also moved to modify the dissolution decree, seeking
an increase in custody, visitation, and a corresponding
reduction in his child-support obligation. The parties
settled the child-custody issue; Mother and Father retained
joint legal custody, while Mother maintained physical
custody. Father received increased custody time. The parties
proceeded to a hearing on the child-support issue and the
hearing, Mother testified that she was employed by Francis
Howell School District. Mother listed her gross monthly wages
as $ 1347 and her net monthly wages as $ 1011.
Mother stated that her average expected monthly expenses were
$2827, and that she lived in an apartment with a monthly rent
contrast, Father claimed $2380 in gross monthly wages, $1719
in net monthly income, and $1700 in monthly expenses. Father
reasoned that, although he earned a greater monthly income
than Mother, Mother received substantial gift money from her
parents, allowing her to live a more luxurious lifestyle.
acknowledged that she received gifts of money from her
parents, and testified that she received "money here and
there." Mother further explained that her mother
"helps to pay every once in a while, but it's not a
set amount every so many months. It's not a set amount
each year .. . She-she helps with-not every month, but she
does help here-here and there, yes." Mother also
explained that her father "helped out here and
there." Mother admitted that contributions from her
parents allowed her to avoid accumulating significant debt
during the motion-to-modify proceedings. No direct evidence
was admitted regarding the amount or regularity of the gift
money Mother received.
judgment, the motion court found that there was a substantial
and continuing change of circumstances regarding Child that
necessitated a modification of the initial child-support
obligation. The motion court further found in favor of
Mother, using Mother's Form 14, which listed her total
gross income as $1347, without including any additional
amounts of gift income. Father's gross income
wras calculated at $2380. Mother's Form 14
found that Father's proportionate share of the
parties' combined adjusted income of $3727 was 63.86%.
Based on child care expenses and support of $1094 per month,
Father's monthly share amounted to $699. Father received
a monthly $72 credit for the nights Child stayed with Father.
Thus, the motion court ordered Father to pay $627 per month.
motion court incorporated and attached Mother's completed
Form 14 to the modification judgment. The motion court also
found Father in contempt and awarded Mother a monetary award
unrelated to Father's monthly child-support obligation.
The motion court subsequently amended its judgment, unrelated
to the child-support award. This appeal
sole point on appeal, Father argues that the motion court
abused its discretion in increasing his monthly child-support
obligation because the motion court failed to include gift
money received ...