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Warkenthien v. Family Support Division

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

August 27, 2019

JOHN F. WARKENTHIEN, Appellant,
v.
FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable Jon E. Beetem, Judge

          Before: Cynthia L. Martin, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge and Alok Ahuja, Judge

          Cynthia L. Martin, Judge

         John F. Warkenthien ("Father") appeals from a determination entered by the Director ("Director") of the Family Support Division ("FSD") of the Missouri Department of Social Services that affirmed the FSD's certification to the United States Department of State ("Department of State") that Father owed an arrearage of child support in an amount exceeding $2, 500. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Father and Kimberly A. Warkenthien ("Mother") were married in 1982. Three children were born of the marriage. In 2007, the marriage between Father and Mother was dissolved. At that time, a judgment was entered ordering Father to pay child support in the amount of $1, 000.00 per month, health insurance, and spousal maintenance to Mother. The original dissolution judgment also ordered Father to pay 75% of each child's college expenses as defined by Missouri statute. In 2014, a modification judgment ("Modification Judgment") was entered finding that Father owed $59, 807 in unpaid spousal maintenance; $2, 000 in unpaid monthly child support; and $9, 750 for Father's share of post-secondary educational expenses for the children, all of whom were by then emancipated.

         On January 16, 2015, the FSD certified to the Department of State that Father owed an arrearage of child support in excess of $2, 500. On October 11, 2017, Father was informed that his application to renew his passport had been denied because he owed an arrearage of child support exceeding $2, 500. On November 7, 2017, Father requested a hearing to challenge the FSD's certification to the Department of State.[1] On December 14, 2017, a hearing was held pursuant to sections 454.511[2] and 454.475. On January 18, 2018, the Director of the FSD affirmed the agency's determination.

         On February 15, 2018, Father timely requested judicial review as provided under section 536.100. On December 26, 2018, the Cole County Circuit Court affirmed the Director's determination.

         Father timely appeals.

         Standard of Review

         "In an appeal following judicial review of an agency's administrative action, this court reviews the decision of the agency, not the circuit court." Tetzner v. State, Dept. of Social Services, Family Support Div., 446 S.W.3d 689, 691 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014). "Our scope of review is limited to whether the agency's decision:

(1) Is in violation of constitutional provisions;
(2) Is in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the agency;
(3) Is unsupported by competent and substantial evidence upon ...

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