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Home / Opinions / Courts / Court of Appeals, Eastern District / Domestic Relations: Child Custody-Child Support

Domestic Relations: Child Custody-Child Support

Where mother challenged a judgment entered on a motion to modify the decree of dissolution and the father cross-appealed, the trial court properly found sufficient evidence of a substantial change in circumstances to warrant an award of sole legal custody to the father, and the court did not err in ordering the mother to pay $52,411 of the father’s attorneys’ fees based on a finding that the mother’s conduct during the litigation was the primary reason for both parties incurring substantial fees and costs, and the judgment is affirmed because the father did not establish that the misapplied the law in its use of Form 14 by designating him as the parent paying support and giving him only a 34 percent custody adjustment when it awarded him more days than the mother.

Family court

Concurring opinion by Richter, J.; “I concur but write separately to point out the fact that Missouri has yet to truly implement the ‘Family Court’ as contemplated a quarter of a century ago. The entire concept of the Family Court revolves around ‘one family — one judge,’ which is laid out succinctly in the article, A Unified Family Court for Missouri, by Paul A. Williams. Paul A. Williams, A Unified Family Court for Missouri, 63 UMKC L. Rev. 383-427 (Spring 1995). This case demonstrates that this ‘model’ is not followed in Missouri. At least FIVE and perhaps as many as SEVEN different judges heard matters related to the motion to modify.”

Judgment is affirmed.

Gilbert v. Koparan (MLW No. 73946/Case No. ED107043 – 20 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Robert G. Dowd Jr., J.) Appealed from circuit court, St. Louis County, Farragut-Hemphill, J. (Laura H. Stobie and S. Jay Dobbs  for appellant) (Arthur H. Nissenbaum, Robert N. Hamilton, John R. Fenley and Bradley T. Sliment for respondent).