Peirick v. Peirick, 44696

Decision Date12 October 1982
Docket NumberNo. 44696,44696
Citation641 S.W.2d 195
PartiesFrancis Joseph PEIRICK, Appellant, v. Patricia Rose PEIRICK, Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Richard L. Murray, Clayton, for appellant.

Bill Eckelkamp, Washington, for respondent.

CRIST, Judge.

On this appeal from a dissolution of marriage decree, appellant (husband) assigns error to the trial court's approval of the parties' oral in-court stipulation for the disposition of their property, and to an order denying without an evidentiary hearing husband's "Motion to Court to Set Aside Decree of Dissolution on Own Initiative." Husband also questions the award to wife of the family home, but we find neither error in the award nor precedential value in discussing it and accordingly affirm that part of the decree under Rule 84.16(b).

Husband's main point is that the trial court erred in approving the parties' in-court stipulation for the disposition of their property. Both parties were represented by counsel, who by the trial date had finally reached agreement on the terms of the stipulated settlement. The terms are not an issue here and we will not recount them, other than to note they cover the usual things--household goods and personal effects, real property, insurance policies, automobiles, bank accounts, etc.--and in such detail that the substance thereof occupies about half of their ten-page decree. The trial court found the testimonial settlement conscionable, § 452.325(2), RSMo. 1978 (all further references to statutory sections are to RSMo. 1978), and ordered the parties' property divided accordingly. Husband tried to renege on the agreement about a month after the trial court approved it, and this appeal followed.

Husband's first argument, that the trial court improperly approved the orally-stipulated property settlement because it was not a "written separation agreement" provided for in § 452.325.-1, is answered in Hansen v. Ryan, 186 S.W.2d 595, 600 (Mo.1945):

In the administration of justice and the prompt dispatch of business, courts must and do act upon the statements of counsel and upon the stipulations of parties to pending causes. Where the parties have voluntarily entered into a stipulation, which appears fair and reasonable for the compromise and settlement of the issues of a pending cause, and where the stipulation is spread upon the record with the consent and approval of the court, as here, the parties are bound thereby and the court may, thereafter, properly proceed to dispose of the case upon the basis of the pleadings, the stipulation and admitted facts.

Nothing in § 452.325 repudiates the just-quoted rule. That the parties to a dissolution of marriage action may dispose of their property through a written separation agreement does not imply that a written separation agreement is the only way the parties may dispose of their property. Accordingly, and consonant with the principles approved in Hansen v. Ryan, we held in Markwardt v. Markwardt, 617 S.W.2d 461, 462 (Mo.App.1981):

[I]t is clear the parties entered into a binding stipulation in open court concerning the division of their property. Like the Supreme Court of Missouri this court believes that an oral stipulation should be as binding as a written contract when the oral agreement is entered into in open court by parties represented by able counsel and the agreement is spread upon...

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27 cases
  • Gangopadhyay v. Gangopadhyay
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • 13 Febrero 1991
    ...1984); Waitt v. Waitt, 172 Ind.App. 357, 360 N.E.2d 268 (1977); Calloway v. Calloway, 707 S.W.2d 789 (Ky.App.1986); Peirick v. Peirick, 641 S.W.2d 195 (Mo.App.1982); McIntosh v. McIntosh, 74 N.C.App. 554, 328 S.E.2d 600 Obviously, such a procedure is fraught with the potential for misunders......
  • Mason v. Mason, 63722
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 5 Abril 1994
    ...it must be impossible to state it to one with common sense without producing exclamation at the inequality of it." Peirick v. Peirick, 641 S.W.2d 195, 197 (Mo.App.E.D.1982) (quoting Carter v. Boone County Trust Co., 338 Mo. 629, 92 S.W.2d 647, 658 (banc 1935)). In this case, the court found......
  • State of Mo., Dept., of Social Svcs., v. Brookside Nursing Center, Inc.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 21 Noviembre 2000
    ...the inequality of it.'" Ricks v. Mo. Local Gov't Employees' Ret. Sys., 981 S.W.2d 585, 594 (Mo. App. 1998) (quoting Peirick v. Peirick, 641 S.W.2d 195, 197 (Mo. App. 1982)). This general definition has also been used in defining unconscionability in the context of separation agreements in d......
  • Epperson v. Epperson, 13484
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 27 Septiembre 1984
    ...must be impossible to state it to one with common sense without producing an exclamation at the inequality of it." Peirick v. Peirick, 641 S.W.2d 195, 196-197 (Mo.App.1982). It is clear a determination that a separation agreement is not unconscionable should not be made in a perfunctory fas......
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