Romkema v. Romkema, s. 67658

Citation918 S.W.2d 294
Decision Date12 March 1996
Docket NumberNos. 67658,67693,s. 67658
PartiesEllen ROMKEMA, Petitioner/Respondent/Cross-Appellant, v. George E. ROMKEMA, Respondent/Appellant/Cross-Respondent.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)

Page 294

918 S.W.2d 294
Ellen ROMKEMA, Petitioner/Respondent/Cross-Appellant,
George E. ROMKEMA, Respondent/Appellant/Cross-Respondent.
Nos. 67658, 67693.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Eastern District,
Division Three.
March 12, 1996.

Page 295

Appeal from Circuit Court of St. Louis County; Carolyn C. Whittington, Judge.

Richard M. Marshall, St. Louis, for George Romkema.

Charles R. Schroeder, St. Peters, for Ellen Romkema.


This is an appeal from the entry of a decree of dissolution. George Romkema ("Husband") appeals the provisions of the decree ordering him to pay for any uninsured medical expenses exceeding $500.00 per month and a combined child support and maintenance award in the amount of $6,420.00 per month. Ellen Romkema ("Wife") cross-appeals claiming the trial court erred in not awarding her attorney fees and in valuing a joint bank account at Roosevelt Bank.


The parties were married on April 11, 1987. One child was born of the marriage. The child was five years old at the time of the decree and suffers from severe behavioral and psychological problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, requiring treatment and special schooling.

Husband was an anesthesiologist with South County Anesthesia Associates. At the time of trial Husband was earning $27,083.00 in gross monthly income. Wife had a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a master's degree in business health care and was a registered nurse. Wife held steady employment before the minor child was born

Page 296

and tried to work during the child's early years, however, due to the son's severe psychological and behavioral problems, Husband and Wife decided it best Wife not work. At the time of the trial Wife was not working outside of the home, but expressed a desire to someday return to the work force if she could.

The parties experienced some marital problems and eventually separated in May 1993. On May 11, 1993, Wife filed the petition for dissolution. The trial court issued a pendente lite order on September 13, 1993, awarding Wife temporary custody of the minor son. Husband was ordered to pay temporary support of $1,000.00 per month child support, $3,000.00 per month maintenance, $3,000.00 in attorney fees, and $1,000.00 in litigation expenses.

On August 29, 1994, the parties entered into a stipulation as to custody and visitation, agreeing to joint legal custody of the minor son, with Wife having primary physical custody subject to specific temporary custody and visitation rights in Husband.

On October 13, 1994, the court entered a decree of dissolution, dissolving the parties' marriage and incorporating the parties' previously entered stipulation as to custody and visitation. The decree awarded Wife $2,920.00 per month in child support and $3,500.00 per month as and for periodic maintenance. Husband was ordered to maintain medical and hospitalization insurance for the minor son and to pay "[a]ny medical expenses not covered by said insurance which exceed $500.00 in any month," plus any dental expenses incurred. The specific distribution of property awarded to each party is not in contention on appeal, therefore, a full recitation is unnecessary. Husband filed a motion to amend the decree. The court entered an amended decree on December 16, 1994. 1 This appeal followed.


Our review is governed by Rule 73.01(c) as interpreted in Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30 (Mo. banc 1976). We will not disturb the judgment of the trial court unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Id. at 32. We are to defer to the trial court's determinations of credibility, viewing the evidence and permissible inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the decree and disregarding all contrary evidence and inferences. Mehra v. Mehra, 819 S.W.2d 351, 353 (Mo. banc 1991). The party challenging the decree bears the burden to demonstrate trial court error. Calia v. Calia, 624 S.W.2d 870, 872 (Mo.App.1981).


On appeal Husband has presented four points of error. However, during oral argument Husband's counsel voiced his intent to abandon the third issue challenging the enforceability of the term "medical expenses," as contained in the decree, in light of the recent Missouri Supreme Court opinion in Lay v. Lay, 912 S.W.2d 466 (Mo. banc 1995), and the companion case, Krane v. Krane, 912 S.W.2d 473 (Mo. banc 1995). In those two cases the Supreme Court held the term "medical expenses" implies sufficient limiting criteria and ruled that such a provision within a decree is valid and enforceable. Lay, 912 S.W.2d at 468-70; Krane, 912 S.W.2d at 475-76. That point is disregarded.

An agreement between counsel was also made at the time of oral argument to dispose of points one and two. In point one Husband contends the trial court erred in ordering him to pay any uninsured medical expenses that exceed $500.00 per month because such payments constitute additional child support in excess of the Form 14 presumptive amount. Husband argues the court's award was made without the requisite findings in accordance with § 452.340.8 RSMo 1994 and Rule 88.01(e). 2

Page 297

The court's decree contained the following provisions:

14. Husband is ordered to pay Wife as and for the support of the minor child the sum of $2,920.00 per month. Child...

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  • Else v. Else, A-95-488
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Nebraska
    • January 14, 1997
    ...In re Marriage of Finer, 920 P.2d 325 (Colo.App.1996); Moriarty v. Stone, 41 Mass.App. 151, 668 N.E.2d 1338 (1996); Romkema v. Romkema, 918 S.W.2d 294 (Mo.App.1996); In re Marriage of Meeks, 276 Mont. 237, 915 P.2d 831 (1996); Peterson and Peterson, 141 Or.App. 446, 918 P.2d 858 (1996). See......
  • Wright v. Wright
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 7, 1999 for valuing marital property in a dissolution proceeding is the date of trial.'" Id. at 66 (quoting Romkema v. Romkema, 918 S.W.2d 294, 298 (Mo. App. 1996)); see also Witt v. Witt, 930 S.W.2d 500, 505 (Mo. App. 1996). However, where the division of property is not reasonably proximate ......
  • Davis v. Schmidt, WD 65517.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 9, 2007
    ...of appellate attorney fees to that party. See Coleberd v. Coleberd, 933 S.W.2d 863, 871, 872 (Mo.App. S.D.1996); Romkema v. Romkema, 918 S.W.2d 294, 298 (Mo.App. E.D.1996); Roberts v. Roberts, 652 S.W.2d 325, 331 (Mo.App. W.D.1983). Moreover, in making an award of attorney fees, "a court mu......
  • Barbieri v. Barbieri, ED108457
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • August 31, 2021
    ...of Review Rule 73.01(c), as interpreted by Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30 (Mo. banc 1976), governs our review. Romkema v. Romkema, 918 S.W.2d 294, 296 (Mo. App. E.D. 1996). Thus, in dissolution proceedings, the judgment of the trial court will be affirmed on appeal unless there is no subst......
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