Law School Case Brief
Segar v. Segar - 50 S.W.3d 844 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001)
The right to appeal in Missouri is statutory. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 512.020 confers the right to appeal upon any party to a suit aggrieved by any judgment of any trial court. A party is not aggrieved by a judgment entered pursuant to a voluntary settlement agreement. A judgment entered pursuant to an agreement of the parties is not a judicial determination of rights and cannot be appealed. A party is estopped or waives his right to appeal when a judgment is entered at his request.
Robert Segar and Donna Sue Rosanswank were married in 1985. Two children were born from the marriage. The couple were divorced in Boone County Circuit Court on May 12, 1998. The judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage granted them joint legal and physical custody of their daughters, with Rosanswank having primary physical custody. Pursuant to the parties' co-parenting agreement, which was approved by the trial court, Segar would have the children on alternate weekends, overnight each Thursday evening, one week in the summer, Father's Day, one week during Christmas break, and alternate holidays. In April of 1999, Rosanswank became engaged and remarried in June of 1999. Also in June of 1999, Rosanswank gave Segar notice of her intention to move with their daughters to Cape Girardeau. Segar filed a motion for an order prohibiting relocation and an affidavit in support of his motion. Following an evidentiary hearing in August of 1999, Segar's motion was denied. Segar filed a motion for rehearing, and the trial court entered judgment on the parties' settlement agreement in December 2000. Segar appealed from a judgment allowing Rosanswank to relocate. Segar argued that the trial court erred by: 1) applying the incorrect four-factor test to analyze the proposed relocation; 2) failing to consider the best interests of the children; and 3) failing to timely rule on father's motion in opposition to relocation in that circumstances upon which the ruling was founded had changed between the presentation of the evidence and the final order.
Could Segar seek review of the trial court's order approving his agreement with Rosanswank settling the matter?
The court held that Segar could not seek review of the trial court's order approving his agreement with Rosanswank settling the matter. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 512.020 only allowed Segar to seek review of a trial court judgment by which he was aggrieved. He could not be considered to be aggrieved by the trial court's judgment entered pursuant to his voluntary settlement agreement. Since the trial court's judgment had been entered at his request, he waived any right to appeal that judgment.
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