Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of Lincoln County Honorable Gregory K.
B. SULLIVAN, P.J.
Lynn Roberts (Mother) appeals from the trial court's
order of October 28, 2015, granting James Christopher
Roberts's (Father) Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment.
Because the appeal of the trial court's order was
untimely, we dismiss Point I for lack of jurisdiction. Mother
also appeals the trial court's June 9, 2017 Judgment
granting Father's motion for unjust enrichment and
awarding him $3, 777 for overpayment of child support. We
reverse and remand.
and Procedural Background
and Father were married on April 12, 2002. They separated on
October 30, 2014, and Mother filed her petition for
dissolution on February 9, 2015. In addition to her petition,
Mother filed a motion for temporary child support and
attorney's fees, which requested child support
retroactively to October 30, 2014. Father was served with the
petition on March 3, 2015.
filed a Notice of Hearing on April 7, 2015, with the hearing
on her petition set for May 6, 2015. Father did not file an
answer to the petition and did not appear for the hearing.
The court entered a default judgment on May 6, 2015. The
default judgment ordered Father to pay $671 per month in
child support and granted Mother's request for
retroactive child support beginning November 1, 2014.
began paying child support in June 2015. For the month of
June, Father paid $335.50, half of the ordered support.
Father paid $671 for child support in July-October 2015.
Father did not pay any of the child support ordered
September 28, 2015, Father filed a motion to set aside the
default judgment of May 6, 2015. A hearing was held on
Father's motion on October 27, 2015. The trial court
entered an order granting Father's motion to set aside
the default judgment on October 28, 2015. A termination of
withholding order was processed on October 29, 2015, and
Father did not pay any child support in November-December
January 26, 2016, a consent pendente lite order (PDL
order) was entered. The PDL order stated Father was to pay
Mother $440 per month for child support "as of
today." However, Father did not pay child support in
January 2016, and paid only $220 for February 2016. Beginning
in March 2016, Father began abiding by the PDL order and
paying Mother $440 per month for child support.
settlement agreement was reached between Mother and Father in
early November 2016 and was entered in the record on November
7, 2016. According to the settlement agreement, Father would
pay Mother $251 per month for child support. The Judgment,
Order and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage was entered on
January 29, 2017. In the Judgment, the trial court ordered
Father to pay Mother $251 per month in child support for the
two children, effective November 7, 2016. Nothing in the
order indicated Father was to be credited for any previous
child support payments.
were no after-trial motions filed by Father. Rather, on March
15, 2017, Father filed a Motion for Contempt and Unjust
Enrichment. In his motion, Father argued Mother was in
contempt for failing to "sign and submit the settlement
documents to the Court within the fifteen days from the day
it was spread on the record, as ordered by the Court."
Father argued Mother was unjustly enriched because he had
involuntarily overpaid child support and Mother's
acceptance and retention of the additional child support was
claimed there were two periods in which he involuntarily
overpaid child support. First, Father claimed he overpaid $3,
019.50 for the payments he made during the time the initial
judgment was in effect due to his default because he was able
to successfully have the default judgment set aside. Second,
Father claimed he overpaid child support from November
2017-January 2018 because the money he paid during this time
was the amount he was ordered to pay under the PDL order,
which was more than the amount the final judgment required he
17, 2017, the trial court heard arguments from Mother and
Father and took the matter under advisement. On June 13,
2017, the trial court entered a judgment finding Mother was
not in contempt, but had been unjustly enriched. Based on a
calculation provided to the trial court from a court clerk,
the trial court ordered Mother to pay Father $3, 777 as a
result of her retention of Father's child support
payments. In its judgment, the trial court stated,
In this case, Mother might be faulted for the delay in entry
of the January 29, 2017 judgment, but she certainly is not at
fault with respect to the first overpayment. The precise
issue, however, is not whether Mother is at fault for the
overpayment, but rather, whether it was just and equitable
that she be allowed to retain the overpayments. This court
finds that it is not.
trial court did not provide any reasoning as to why it was
not just and equitable for Mother to ...