Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Honorable Jason D.
B. SULLIVAN, P.J.
Dubrovenskiy (Husband) appeals from the trial court's
Amended Judgment Pendente Lite (JPL) ordering him to pay
temporary maintenance to Yelena Vakula (Wife). The JPL also
orders a temporary custody arrangement for their minor child
(Child). We affirm.
and Wife married on August 14, 2013, and have one child
together, who was approximately three years old at the time
of the JPL hearing. The parties separated on June 10, 2017.
At the time of their separation, Wife left the marital home
and moved in with her parents. Husband continued to occupy
the marital home.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was filed by Husband on
June 23, 2017. Husband also filed a Motion for Child Custody,
and Other Orders, Pendente Lite on that same day. Wife filed
an answer and counter-petition to Husband's motions,
seeking temporary custody of Child, temporary maintenance,
temporary child support, and attorney's fees from
hearing was held on Husband's and Wife's respective
motions. Wife testified to several incidents of domestic
violence by Husband, including his kicking, choking, and
headbutting her. She also expressed concern for Child's
welfare while with Husband, testifying she had observed Child
return from Husband's care with bruises, fever, nausea,
and diaper rash. Wife also testified about her financial and
living situations since leaving Husband. She stated she had
moved back in with her parents because she could not afford
other accommodations. She also testified she was not working
at the time of the hearing, but was seeking employment.
testified about his living and financial situations as well.
He testified he continued to live in the marital home where
he pays rent and utilities. He testified Wife had restricted
his contact with Child since their separation. He also
expressed concern over Child's well-being, noting Child
was, in his view, not sufficiently progressing with his
verbal skills. Husband suggested he believed this was due to
shortcomings in Wife's parenting. Both parties submitted
proposed parenting schedules.
court-appointed guardian ad litem (GAL) testified on the
matter of child custody at the hearing. He noted the
allegations of child abuse by Husband were unsubstantiated by
investigators, and that Husband appeared diligent in his care
and concern for Child. He also presented the Court with a
recommendation for a temporary custody schedule, which
included increased custody time for Husband.
trial court entered a Judgment Pendente Lite. Husband filed a
Motion to Reconsider the trial court's first Judgment
Pendente Lite. The trial court denied Husband's motion,
and entered the JPL from which Husband now appeals.
contains the trial court's findings of fact and
conclusions of law. The trial court found Wife's
testimony of Husband's domestic violence toward her
credible, but did not find sufficient evidence of his abuse
of Child. The trial court found Wife's restriction of
Husband's contact with Child was done in good faith, out
of concern for Husband's history of domestic violence.
The trial court chose to adopt the schedule proposed by the
GAL; the trial court noted it expected compliance with the
custody schedule from Wife.
trial court also made findings related to the temporary
maintenance requested by Wife. Although Wife was unemployed
at the time of the hearing, based on her experience and past
employment the trial court imputed to her a gross monthly
income of $2, 063. Husband's gross monthly income was
found to be $6, 438. After evaluating the evidence, including
the standard of living during the marriage, the trial court
found Wife's reasonable monthly expenses to be $2, 593.
After subtracting taxes and expenses from her imputed income,
this left her with a deficit of $972.51.
was estimated to have monthly expenses of $2, 285, similar to
Wife's. The trial court also found Husband had a higher
earning capacity than Wife. The trial court again noted it
found Wife's allegations of domestic violence against
Husband credible. Finally, the trial court stated that
although the marriage was brief, and it was doubtful an order
for maintenance would accompany a final judgment, there was
no expectation Wife would become self-supporting during the
pendency of the case. After having considered all relevant
statutory factors, the trial court awarded Wife temporary
maintenance of $900 ...