Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SCOTT COUNTY Honorable Scott Horman
Strobel ("Husband") appeals the judgment that
dissolved his marriage to Bobbi Jo Strobel
("Wife"). His first two points claim the trial
court abused its discretion in dividing the couple's
marital property, specifically Wife's 401(k) account and
stock-ownership plan. Husband's third point claims the
trial court erred in ordering him to pay Wife's attorney
$1, 500.00 as a sanction for Husband's pre-trial
behavior. Because Husband has failed to prove reversible
error, the presumed-correct judgment of the trial court must
As with any court-tried case, the judgment in a dissolution
case will be affirmed if it is supported by the evidence; it
is not against the weight of the evidence; and it does not
erroneously declare or apply the law. Jones v.
Jones, 277 S.W.3d 330, 334 (Mo.App.W.D.2009). We view
the evidence in the light most favorable to the dissolution
decree and disregard any contrary evidence or inferences
therefrom. Id. We defer to the trial court's
credibility determinations. Id. Where the issue on
appeal is the trial court's application of section
452.330.1 in dividing marital property, "this court
will interfere only where the division is so unduly favorable
to one party that it constitutes an abuse of
discretion." Id. at 337 (internal quotation
omitted). We presume that the division of property was
correct; the party challenging it bears the burden of
overcoming the presumption. Sullivan v. Sullivan,
159 S.W.3d 529, 534 (Mo.App.W.D.2005).
Stone v. Stone, 450 S.W.3d 817, 820 (Mo. App. W.D.
evidence of the values of Wife's 401(k) plan and Employee
Stock Ownership Plan ("stock ownership plan") was
presented to the trial court. In dividing the parties'
assets, the trial court awarded 80% of the martial portion of
those plans to Wife and 20% to Husband.
judgment also ordered Husband to pay Wife's attorney
"$1, 500.00 as and for reasonable attorney fees and
expenses incurred as a direct result of [Husband's]
violations" of Rule 55.03(c),  which deals with
representations made to the trial court by a party or the
party's lawyer. Husband did not file a request for
particular findings of fact or conclusions of law, and he did
not file a post-trial motion to amend the judgment.
1 and 2 inadequately challenge a specific portion of the
trial court's division of marital property, and they fail
for the same reason. Point 1 states (verbatim) that
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW WHEN IT
ENTERED ITS' [sic] JUDGMENT DISTRIBUTING MARITAL PROPERTY
NOT VALUED AT [THE] TIME OF TRIAL." Point 2 states
(verbatim) that "THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND
ABUSED ITS' [sic] DISCRETION WHEN IT AWARDED HUSBAND ONLY
20% OF WIFE'S 401(K) AND 20% OF WIFE'S BANK
failure of these points to comply with the requirements of
Rule 84.04 brings an analogy to mind. Every successful cake,
no matter how simple or elaborate, is based upon the
inclusion of a few essential ingredients. Leave any one of
those essential ingredients out, and all your efforts --
however vigorous or well-intended -- will not produce a cake.
It cannot happen. Rule 84.04(d) is not set up as a technical
barrier to trap the unwary or to impede the administration of
justice. Rushing v. City of Springfield, 180 S.W.3d
538, 541 (Mo. App. S.D. 2006). Rather, it is a list of the
essential "ingredients" necessary to demonstrate
reversible error in any civil appeal.
Husband's points (including point 3, discussed
infra) fail to include the essential ingredients
listed in Rule 84.04(d). While each identifies the
"ruling or action" by the trial court being
challenged on appeal (the "ruling" ingredient),
see Rule 84.04(d)(1)(A), each fails to identify the
Murphy ground applicable to its respective claim
(the "legal reason why" ingredient), see Murphy
v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976); Rule
84.04(d)(1)(B), and they all fail to "[e]xplain in
summary fashion why, in the context of the case, those legal
reasons support the claim of reversible error" (the
"context" ingredient), Rule 84.04(d)(1)(C).
regard to points 1 and 2, the absence of the context
ingredient is fatal. This court will only "interfere
with the trial court's distribution of marital property
 if the division is so heavily weighted in favor of one
party as to amount to an abuse of discretion." In re
Marriage of Cunningham, 571 S.W.3d 688, 693 (Mo. App.
S.D. 2019) (quoting Landewee v. Landewee, 515 S.W.3d
691, 694 (Mo. banc 2017)).
picks out two particular slices of the property division cake
without identifying how those slices fit into the context of
the trial court's overall division of property and debt.
We addressed a similar failing in Cunningham.
For Husband to succeed in a challenge that the overall
division was so one-sided as to be inequitable as he now
claims, it is incumbent upon him to demonstrate (at least)
the proportional values of the items assigned, whether each
item is marital or nonmarital, and the nature of the credited
evidence pursuant to the section 452.330.1 factors. [In
re Marriage of] Sivils, 526 S.W.3d [375, ] 385
[(Mo. App. S.D. 2017)]. While Husband's brief mentions
some numbers, the absence of trial court findings on the
value of several items, the lack of findings on designations
of marital versus nonmarital property, and Husband's
failure to preserve the issue via a motion to amend the