James W. Shanks, Jr. v. Meagehn M. Shanks


In the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District DIVISION TWO JAMES W. SHANKS, JR., ) Nos. ED109185 ) ED109186 (consolidated into above) Appellant, ) ) Appeal from the Circuit Court ) of St. Charles County vs. ) Cause Nos. 1511-FC00125-01 ) 1511-FC00125-02 ) MEAGEHN M. SHANKS, ) Honorable John P. Banas ) Respondent. ) Filed: July 20, 2021 OPINION This appeal challenges an order by the circuit court setting aside its own prior judgments regarding a motion to modify child support and a motion for contempt. Considering the trial court’s decision is entitled to deference under the applicable abuse of discretion standard, we affirm the trial court’s decision to set aside its order modifying child support. As to the contempt judgment, we reverse. Facts & Procedural Background On February 24, 2015, the Circuit Court of St. Charles County entered a judgment dissolving the marriage between Appellant/husband, James Shanks, and Respondent/wife, Meagehn M. Shanks. The judgment included an amount for child support to be paid by Appellant to Respondent. In 2016, Appellant filed a motion to modify the judgment as to child support, citing a decline in his income since the dissolution judgment was entered. After considerable litigation, a modification judgment was entered on May 16, 2017. Appellant appealed the 2017 modification judgment to this court (Case No. ED106437).1 His notice of appeal raised four issues challenging the child support amount as calculated on Form 14, as well as the retroactive application of that calculation. But that appeal was never briefed or completed because a portion of the transcript was unavailable. Because of the missing transcript, this court ordered the judgment reversed. This court’s mandate ordered the case “remanded to the circuit court for a new trial on the record, due to the absence of a transcript, in accordance with this Court’s order dated August 31, 2018.” During the course of litigation regarding the motion to modify, on December 7, 2017, Appellant also filed a motion for contempt alleging Respondent had failed to comply with the dissolution judgment in multiple respects. On February 13, 2019, after this court’s remand for lack of a transcript, the parties appeared for a hearing on the record regarding Appellant’s motion to modify as well as his motion for contempt. At that hearing, Appellant’s counsel indicated the circuit court did not need to consider new evidence regarding the motion to modify. However, the parties submitted evidence addressing the motion for contempt. On June 4, 2019, the trial court entered two separate judgments, one addressing the motion to modify and the other for contempt. These judgments are referred to here as the “Modification Judgment” and the “Contempt Judgment.” The Modification Judgment recited that Appellant had lost his previous job and experienced a substantial reduction in income. Because the parties did not submit updated financial information to the trial court, the court 1 This court takes judicial notice of its own appellate records in this previous related case in order to provide a more complete understanding of the …

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