In re the Marriage of Maggi Ann Wood, No. 28458.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtJeffrey W. Bates
Citation244 S.W.3d 274
Decision Date31 January 2008
Docket NumberNo. 28458.
PartiesIn Re the Marriage of Marsha Ann (Wood) MAGGI and Brian Allen WOOD, Marsha Ann (Wood) Maggi, Petitioner-Respondent, v. Brian Allen Wood, Respondent-Appellant.
244 S.W.3d 274
In Re the Marriage of Marsha Ann (Wood) MAGGI and Brian Allen WOOD, Marsha Ann (Wood) Maggi, Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
Brian Allen Wood, Respondent-Appellant.
No. 28458.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Division One.
January 31, 2008.

[244 S.W.3d 275]

Roy Eugppe. Williams, Jr., West Plains, MO, for Appellant.

Jacob Yadon!Garrett, West Plains, MO, for Respondent

JEFFREY W. BATES, Judge.


Brian Wood (Father) appeals from a judgment ordering him to pay retroactive child support to Marsha Wood (Mother) for their child, Chelsea Wood (Daughter).

244 S.W.3d 276

Father contends that the trial court misapplied § 452.340.5 because: (1) Daughter became emancipated as of January 1, 2004, after failing to satisfy the minimum college credit-hour requirements prescribed in this statute; and (2) neither she nor Mother provided Father with a transcript or similar official document so as to remain eligible for continued child support.1 Because Father's first point has merit, this Court is required to reverse the judgment and remand the case with directions to enter a judgment for Father.

The marriage of Father and Mother was dissolved in December 1989. Daughter was then approximately four and one-half years old. The judgment ordered Father to pay $170 per month in child support to Mother.

In May 2003, Daughter became 18 years of age and graduated from high school. That same month, the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) entered an administrative order increasing Father's child support obligation to $569 per month and making that obligation retroactive to January 1, 2003. In August 2003, the trial court modified the judgment to reflect the new child support obligation. Thereafter, Mother received a lump sum payment from Father for all past due child support.

After graduating from high school, Daughter enrolled at Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) for the Fall 2003 semester.2 She also began working at a restaurant approximately 15 hours per week. She was scheduled to. take six classes, totaling 14 credit hours. Daughter only received eight credit hours that semester because she failed one class and dropped another one.

After the Fall 2003 semester, DCSE administratively terminated Father's obligation to pay child support because Daughter's completion of only eight credit hours resulted in her emancipation as of January 1, 2004. Father ceased paying child support. Daughter continued her education at SMSU and successfully completed at least 12 credit hours during the Spring 2004, Fall 2004, Spring 2005 and Fall 2005 semesters.

In February 2005, Mother filed a motion to reinstate child support. Father opposed the motion and affirmatively sought declaratory relief that Daughter had become legally emancipated as of January 1, 2004. In July 2006, the court held a hearing on Mother's motion. Both parties testified and submitted exhibits for the court's consideration. In April 2007, the court entered a judgment awarding Maher $569 per month in child support retroactively to May 1, 2004. The court acknowledged that Daughter failed to complete 12 credit hours during the Fall 2003 semester. Nevertheless, the court decided. Daughter was not legally emancipated because: (1) during the Fall 2003 semester, Daughter was actively pursuing her higher education while working parttime; and (2) after January 2004, she continued to attend college, maintain passing grades and receive at least 12 credit hours each semester. This appeal followed.

In this court-tried case, our review is governed by Rule 84.13(d).3 Mullin v. Silvercreek Condominium Owner's Ass'n, Inc., 195 S.W.3d 484, 489 (Mo.App. 2006). We must affirm the trial court's judgment unless it is not supported by substantial evidence, it is against the

244 S.W.3d 277

weight of the evidence, evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976).4 An appellate court conducts a de novo review of questions of law. Billings Mut. Ins. Co. v. Cameron Mut. Ins. Co., 229 S.W.3d 138, 142 (Mo.App.2007).

In Father's first point, he contends that Daughter was legally emancipated as of January 1, 2004, because she successfully completed only eight credit hours during the prior semester. Father argues that the trial court's contrary decision resulted from a misapplication of § 452.340. This Court agrees. During the Fall 2003 semester, the relevant portions of this...

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2 practice notes
  • Wiest v. Wiest, No. SD 28672.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 25, 2008
    ...completed classes providing nine hours of college credit. Therefore, he did not become emancipated. See In re Marriage of Maggi and Wood, 244 S.W.3d 274, 278 (Mo.App.2008). In order to remain eligible for child support during the Spring 2007 semester, however, either Respondent or Steffen h......
  • Citizens National Bank v. Maries County Bank, No. 28164.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 31, 2008
    ...the MSO; and it is exactly the reason why the buyers should have insisted upon receiving the MSO contemporaneously with the remittance of 244 S.W.3d 274 their purchase price to the dealer. What is before this Court is a judgment entered in favor of the Jones' against an unrelated third part......
2 cases
  • Wiest v. Wiest, No. SD 28672.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 25, 2008
    ...completed classes providing nine hours of college credit. Therefore, he did not become emancipated. See In re Marriage of Maggi and Wood, 244 S.W.3d 274, 278 (Mo.App.2008). In order to remain eligible for child support during the Spring 2007 semester, however, either Respondent or Steffen h......
  • Citizens National Bank v. Maries County Bank, No. 28164.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 31, 2008
    ...the MSO; and it is exactly the reason why the buyers should have insisted upon receiving the MSO contemporaneously with the remittance of 244 S.W.3d 274 their purchase price to the dealer. What is before this Court is a judgment entered in favor of the Jones' against an unrelated third part......

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