Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Family Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court declaring section 11.800 of House Bill No. 2011 (HB2011) invalid, holding that there was a direct conflict between the language of Mo. Rev. Stat. 208.153.2 and 208.152.1(6), (12) requiring the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services to pay its authorized providers for covered physicians' services and family planning provided to Medicaid-eligible individuals and the language of section 11.800 prohibiting MO HealthNet from doing so.Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood) was an authorized provider of physicians' services and family planning because it had an agreement with MO HealthNet to do so. MO HealthNet informed Planned Parenthood that it could not reimburse Planned Parenthood for those services during the fiscal year 2019 due to section 11.800, which stated that "No funds shall be expended to any abortion facility...." The circuit court concluded that section 11.800 of HB2011 violated Mo. Const. Art. III, 23 because it amended substantive law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 11.800 was invalid because article III, section 23 prohibits using an appropriation bill to amend a substantive statute; and (2) the circuit court properly severed that provision from the remainder of HB2011. View "Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region v. Department of Social Services, Division of Medical Services" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court issued a permanent writ of prohibition ordering the circuit court to vacate its order sustaining Father's amended motion for temporary custody of his minor child and awarding Father temporary custody of the child without a hearing, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority by awarding temporary custody without first conducting a hearing.After Mother filed a petition for dissolution of marriage against Father the parties filed competing motions for temporary custody of their child. Without holding a hearing on the motions, the circuit court awarded temporary legal and physical custody of the child solely to Father. Mother filed a petition for a writ of prohibition, asserting that the circuit court acted in excess of its authority. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court exceeded its authority by awarding temporary custody without a hearing. View "State ex rel. Koehler v. Honorable Midkiff" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court quashed the preliminary writ issued in this original proceeding in prohibition brought by Husband seeking to prohibit the circuit court from enforcing its order compelling him to turn over all correspondence pertaining to his military retirement benefits and to sign an authorization releasing his military records related to reservist points he earned during his marriage to Wife, holding that Husband failed to establish that the circuit court exceeded its authority when it sustained Wife’s motion to compel.Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court’s order did not modify or otherwise grant Wife any relief from the division of property in the parties’ dissolution judgment, and therefore, the circuit court’s order was not governed by the one-year time limitation in Rule 74.06(c) and was not barred under the doctrines of collateral estoppel or res judicata; and (2) the circuit court’s order did not violate Husband’s due process rights or privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. View "State ex rel. Cullen v. Honorable Kevin Harrell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the final judgment of the trial court dissolving Husband’s marriage to Wife, holding that the trial court’s retroactive award of maintenance was erroneous but the judgment was otherwise proper.In 2013, the trial court entered an interlocutory judgment entry for dissolution of marriage dissolving the marriage, dividing marital property, and ordering Husband to pay Wife $1,500 per month in maintenance, retroactive to November 1, 2011. The interlocutory judgment was twice modified by the court. On April 16, 2016, the trial court entered its final judgment entry and dissolution of marriage dividing the remainder of the parties’ property and awarding maintenance in accordance with its interlocutory judgment. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the need for and amount of maintenance was erroneously determined prior to the final disposition of property, but the error was not material because the final division of property did not make any significant change in the award of property to the parties; (2) the trial court did not misapply the law in determining the need for and amount of maintenance; but (3) a retroactive maintenance award is not authorized under Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.335. View "Archdekin v. Archdekin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dissolving the marriage of Jessica Bowers and Jason Bowers and designating Jason a third party in the dissolution proceeding for purposes of determining custody of Child.The circuit court awarded Jason sole legal and physical custody of Child, finding that it would not be in Child’s best interest for Jessica or Child’s biological father to have sole physical or legal custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in designating Jason as a third party in the dissolution action for the sole purpose of determining custody even where Jason was already a party to the dissolution; and (2) the circuit court’s award of third-party custody to Jason was not against the weight of the evidence. View "Bowers v. Bowers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment terminating Mother’s parental rights to her twin girls and approving the adoption of the twins by their foster parents, holding that clear, cogent and convincing evidence supported the circuit court’s termination of parental rights under Mo. Rev. Stat. 211.447.5(2). On appeal, Mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the circuit court’s finding that grounds for termination under section 211.447 were satisfied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mother’s consent to the adoption was not needed where, as in this case, one of the grounds for termination under section 211.447 was satisfied by clear and convincing evidence. View "In re T.T.G." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court terminating Father’s parental rights to Child and granting the petition for the adoption filed by Mother and Stepfather. The circuit court concluded that Father’s consent to the adoption was not required pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 453.040(7) because Father willfully abandoned Child and willfully, substantially, and continuously neglected to provide Child with necessary care and protection. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court’s conclusions regarding abandonment and neglect were not against the weight of the evidence; and (2) there was clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to support a statutory ground for terminating parental rights and support a finding that Father’s consent was not necessary for adoption. View "S.S.S. v. C.V.S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment dismissing the petition of Grandparents for visitation and custody of their grandson, over whom Guardians had guardianship. The circuit court concluded that Grandparents failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Grandparents’ petition failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because their petition did not set forth the requisite elements of grandparent visitation under Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.402; and (2) Grandparents failed to state a cause of action under Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.375.5(5)(a) for custody or visitation when letters of guardianship had been issued by the probate division. View "Hanson v. Carroll" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
Wife appealed the trial court’s judgment dissolving her marriage to Husband, challenging the court’s distribution of marital property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) equitably divided the marital assets and debts in a manner that is definite and capable of enforcement; (2) did not err in assigning no present value to Husband’s defined benefit pension plan through the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement Benefit Plan; and (3) properly considered the factors in Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.330 and did not err in ordering Wife to pay Husband an equalization share. View "Landewee v. Landewee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
When Child was not yet one year old, Grandfather filed a petition to establish a guardianship and conservatorship jointly in two cousins, alleging that Mother was unable or unfit to assume the duties of guardianship. After a hearing, the trial court found Mother unable and unfit to properly care for Child and ordered the issuance of letters of guardianship and conservatorship to the two cousins as co-guardians. Mother appealed, arguing that the trial court had utilized the wrong burden of proof and that due process requires proof of unfitness by clear and convincing evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Mo. Rev. Stat. 475.030.4 requires proof of inability or unfitness by a preponderance of the evidence, and Mother failed to preserve her argument that the statute is unconstitutional; (2) the trial court’s judgment ordering the issuance of letters of guardianship and conservatorship was supported by substantial evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence; and (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling Mother’s motion for a continuance. View "In re A.L.R." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law