New Laws in Missouri Effective Today

August 28 is the day when many new laws go into effect each year in Missouri. This year is no exception. Many new laws go into effect today.

Some highlights of what your elected representatives have been up to this year:

SB5: Significant change to the law related to municipal courts in the wake of the Ferguson situation. Continue reading

How Not to Parent

The Missouri Supreme Court  this week in Pasternak v. Pasternak, No. SC94488 (Mo. banc August 18, 2015) decided a custody relocation/modification case and in so doing gave a helpful enumerated list of how not to parent, a sort of 13 Alfred_E._Neumanncommandments of parenting (i.e., things these knuckleheads did):

(1) disparaging the other parent in the presence of the children;
(2) disparaging the other parent’s significant other to the children, resulting in the children making an inappropriate remark to Mother’s significant other;
(3) getting in petty arguments over minor violations of
exchange times;
(4) giving conflicting instructions to the children’s daycare provider;
(5) refusing to allow the other parent’s relatives to pick up the children for lunch or when the other parent might have been late due to work commitments;
(6) disagreeing over whether the children should continue to go to catechism classes in one parent’s religion or go to the other parent’s new church;
(7) creating embarrassing situations in public places in the presence of children;
(8) involving police in exchanges that should not require the police if the parents were cooperative;
(9) setting and arranging appointments without consulting the other parent,
although somewhat necessitated by the other parent’s failure to cooperate;
(10) discussing “alleged inappropriate behavior” of the other parent in front of the children;
(11) engaging in manipulative behavior in an attempt to assert possible
sexual abuse by the other parent, no proof of which was ever offered;
(12) failing to send the children to summer school for all scheduled days; and
(13) changing child care providers without consultation with the other parent.
Way to go guys.

Same-sex Custody

The Missouri Court of Appeals recognized yesterday in a case an option for same-sex unmarried couples to litigate custody where they have been living as a couple and raising a child together. The law on same-sex relationships is rapidly changing.

Red Light/Speed Camera Programs Unconstitutional

The Missouri Supreme Court found red light camera programs violated the constitution.

Joe Ravi, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Joe Ravi, CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Court says a city can’t convict using red light/speed cams 1) unless they issue points on a driver’s license as prescribed by state law; 2) unless there is no presumption of guilt; and 3) if an owner instead of an operator is charged, then the city must prove the owner expressly permitted the operator to break the law allegedly violated.

I previously litigated red light cameras in Springfield, resulting in the shut down of the program and removal of the cameras.

Three cases:

City of St. Peters v. Roeder, No. SC94379 (Mo. banc August 18, 2015)

Tupper v. City of St. Louis, No. SC94212 (Mo. banc August 18, 2015)

City of Moline Acres v. Brennan, No. SC94085 (Mo. banc August 18, 2015)


New Case: Objection to Court’s Statutory Authority to Decide Custody Waived if Not Properly Asserted

If you want to fight about whether a Missouri trial court has authority to  decide custody, you better  raise the objection early on.

“By participating in the Missouri dissolution case without raising any objection to the trial court’s authority to determine child custody until there was an allegation that she had not complied with one of the trial court’s rulings, Wife waived any right she might have had to contest the trial court’s authority to resolve the issue of child custody.”

In Schaeffer v. Schaeffer, No. SD33377 (Mo.App. S.D. Aug. 10, 2015), the  Court of Appeals extended Hightower v. Myers, 304 S.W.3d 727, 733 (Mo. banc 2010) to apply to the UCCJEA. In a nutshell, if a party to a case involving child custody fails to properly object to a trial court’s authority to decide the case, the party waives the ability to object later. In Schaeffer, Mom filed a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage, answered the petition filed by her spouse, participated by counsel in a hearing to decide temporary custody, and the court entered an order for temporary custody. Only after all that did Mom file a motion to dismiss based on a lack of statutory jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The trial court denied the dismissal and decided the case; the Court of Appeals affirmed.


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