Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
IN THE INTEREST OF: B.L.G., A MINOR CHILD; CEDRIC GANAWAY, Respondent,
BRANDEY GREENE, Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Cooper County, Missouri The
Honorable Keith M. Bail, Judge
Before: Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, Mark D.
Pfeiffer, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
CYNTHIA L. MARTIN, JUDGE
Green ("Mother") appeals from the trial court's
judgment establishing paternity, and determining child
custody, child support and parenting time. Mother argues that
the trial court's adoption of Cedric Ganaway's
("Father") parenting plan was against the weight of
the evidence, exceeded the scope of the pleadings, and was
based on an improper Guardian Ad Litem ("GAL")
recommendation. Finding no error, we affirm.
gave birth to B.L.G. ("the child") in July 2010.
The child resided with Mother in Pilot Grove. Father resided
February 2016, Father filed a petition to determine
paternity, child custody, child support, and parenting time
with respect to the child. Father admitted paternity and
requested joint legal and physical custody. Mother filed an
answer and counter-petition that initially sought sole legal
and physical custody. However, Mother eventually changed her
position and agreed with Father's request for joint legal
and physical custody.
trial court entered temporary custody orders on May 13, 2016,
and on September 19, 2016 ("September temporary custody
order"). Both temporary custody orders reflected
agreements reached between the parties. The September
temporary custody order provided that Mother and Father would
have joint legal and physical custody of the child; that the
child would reside primarily with Mother; and that Father
would have parenting time every other weekend (with the times
varied depending upon whether school was in session), and
every Wednesday between 5:45 p.m. - 8 p.m. The September
temporary custody order also addressed holiday parenting
time, and extended parenting time for vacations.
petition was heard on August 17, 2017. At that time, Mother
was no longer represented by counsel and appeared pro
se. The parties stipulated to Father's paternity,
and to joint legal and physical custody. The parties
submitted evidence in support of their competing positions
with respect to parenting time and child support. That
evidence included Father's parenting plan ("August
2017 parenting plan") which sought to alter the
temporary parenting time arrangements such that Father and
Mother would alternate weeks during the summer, and Father
would have the child the first, second, fourth and fifth
weekends of each month during the school year.
conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, the trial court took
the matter under advisement. The trial court asked Father to
submit a revised parenting plan and a proposed judgment
reflecting changes to Father's August 2017 parenting plan
that had been discussed during the hearing.
the matter was still under advisement, Father filed a motion
on October 2, 2017 to re-open the evidence, in light of
issues that arose after the August 17, 2017 hearing involving
the child's school attendance. On October 13, 2017, the
trial court sustained Father's motion.
October 15, 2018, the trial court heard additional evidence.
Mother was represented by counsel during this hearing. During
the hearing, Father testified and submitted an amended
parenting plant ("October 2018 parenting plan")
which was received into evidence without objection.
Father's October 2018 parenting plan required the child
to reside with Father on the weekdays while school was in
session. Mother also testified and submitted her own
parenting plan which was received into evidence without
objection. Mother's parenting plan effectively requested
the adoption of Father's August 2017 parenting plan.
evidence established that Mother's medical
condition had at times limited her ability to provide
transportation for the child to and from school events and
for the exercise of parenting time as provided in the
September temporary custody order. While residing with
Mother, the child had missed or been tardy for numerous days
of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. At one point,
Mother had provided notice of her intent to relocate with the
child to Florida, though Mother testified she no longer
intended to relocate. A court appointed GAL recommended that
Mother and Father be awarded joint legal and physical custody
with parenting time as provided in Father's October 2018
trial court entered its judgment on November 6, 2018
("Judgment") establishing paternity, and
determining child custody, child support and parenting time.
The Judgment adopted and incorporated Father's October
2018 parenting plan.
timely appeals, challenging the trial court's adoption of
Father's October 2018 parenting plan.
court-tried case, our standard of review is set forth in
Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976).
Schollmeyer v. Schollmeyer, 393 S.W.3d 120, 122 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2013). "We affirm the trial court's
decision unless it is not supported by substantial evidence,
it is against the weight of evidence, or it erroneously
declares or applies the law." Id. at 122 - 23.
We defer to the trial court's credibility determinations.
Id. "We view the ...