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Gammon v. Gammon

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

September 19, 2017

RANDY ELLIS GAMMON, Respondent,
v.
ANGIE KAY GAMMON, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Vernon County, Missouri The Honorable David R. Munton, Judge

          Before James E. Welsh, Presiding Judge, Thomas H. Newton, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge

          GARY D. WITT, JUDGE

         Angie Gammon ("Mother") appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court of Vernon County granting to Randy Gammon ("Father") sole medical decision making authority for the couple's two children. Further, Mother appeals the court's division of overnight parenting time between Mother and Father. We affirm.

         Factual Background[1]

         Mother and Father were married in 2007 and had two sons in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Mother filed for divorce from Father in 2011 but that petition was ultimately dismissed. In December 2012, Father filed for divorce from Mother. The court entered its Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage June 16, 2016 ("Judgment"). At the time of the Judgment, the children were eight and six.[2]

         The Judgment called for joint legal and physical custody between Mother and Father ("Custody Plan"). The Custody Plan provided that the children's principle residence shall be with Father but that Mother would have parenting time with both children every other weekend from Friday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Additionally, Mother would have the children Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The couple would have a reasonably equal split of holidays. The Custody Plan was almost identical to the parenting plans submitted by Father and Mother.[3]

         The court found that Mother and Father should make joint decisions on the children's education, dental, child care providers, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. The court, however, found that "Mother has unorthodox beliefs as to medical treatment" and awarded Father sole decision making authority over the children's medical treatment and selection of the children's health care providers.

         Mother appeals the Judgment of the court arguing that the court did not have sufficient evidence upon which to determine that Father should have sole medical decision making authority. Further, she claims that the Court did not provide her with enough parenting time to meet the statutory requirement for "frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact" under section 452.375.4.[4]

         Standard of Review

This Court will affirm the circuit court's judgment 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). "Substantial evidence is evidence that, if believed, has some probative force on each fact that is necessary to sustain the circuit court's judgment." Ivie v. Smith, 439 S.W.3d 189, 199 (Mo. banc 2014). "To prevail on [a] substantial-evidence challenge, [the appellant] must demonstrate that there is no evidence in the record tending to prove a fact that is necessary to sustain the circuit court's judgment as a matter of law." Id. at 200. When reviewing whether the circuit court's judgment is supported by substantial evidence, this Court views "the evidence in the light most favorable to the circuit court's judgment and defer[s] to the circuit court's credibility determinations." Id. This Court "accept[s] as true the evidence and inferences ... favorable to the trial court's decree and disregard[s] all contrary evidence." Id., quoting Zweig v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 412 S.W.3d 223, 231 (Mo. banc 2013).

Pasternak v. Pasternak, 467 S.W.3d 264, 268 (Mo. banc 2015).

         Discussion

         Mother raises two points on appeal. In her first point, Mother contends that the court erred in granting Father sole decision making ...


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