In State ex rel. Dreppard v. Jones the Eastern District Court of Appeals stated that in a modification action, if a party timely files his or her motion to disqualify the guardian ad litem (GAL) under section 452.423.1, that party has an absolute right to the disqualification. In this case Dreppard filed a motion to modify the dissolution judgment. The trial court "re-appointed" the same GAL to represent the children that had been in the dissolution hearing. Dreppard timely filed his motion to disqualify this GAL and the trial court denied the motion stating that the GAL appointment was a continuing one from the dissolution action. Dreppard filed a writ of mandamus to compel the trial court to disqualify the GAL in the modification action. The appellate court stated that the modification action was independent from the dissolution proceeding and if timely filed, a party is entitled to one disqualification of a GAL under section 452.423.1. Dreppard had timely filed his motion and the appellate court ordered the trial court to grant Dreppard's motion to disqualify the GAL.
In deciding this issue the appellate court looked at the change of judge issue in modifications. It found that the legislature had determined that modification proceedings were independent actions and provided that a party in a modification action is entitled to a change of judge under the same rules that allow for a change of judge in other cases.
Source: State ex rel. Dreppard v. Jones, ED89214, (Mo. App. E.D. 03/06/2007)