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DANNY HALL SWITZER v. SHARON J. SWITZER

DECEMBER 05, 1984

DANNY HALL SWITZER
v.
SHARON J. SWITZER



BEFORE, PATTERSON, C.J., ROBERTSON AND SULLIVAN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Danny Hall Switzer has been found in violation of certain financial provisions of a property settlement agreement incorporated into a final decree of divorce entered by the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi, adjudged in contempt, and committed to the custody of the sheriff until he purge himself. He appeals to this Court, arguing that such an incorporated property settlement agreement is not enforceable by contempt proceedings and, in the alternative, that the agreement is too vaguely worded to support an adjudication of contempt. For the reasons set forth below, we reject Switzer's points and affirm.

Danny Hall Switzer (hereinafter" Danny ") and Sharon J. Switzer (hereinafter" Sharon ") were married on October 5, 1976. At some point in 1981 they separated. No children were born of the marriage. In due course thereafter the parties negotiated a property settlement agreement, obviously contemplating obtaining a divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Miss. Code Ann. 93-5-2 (Supp. 1984). At the time the parties owned a residence commonly designated by a street number as 303 Bay Road,

 Brandon, Rankin County, Mississippi. With respect to that residence, the parties provided in the agreement as follows:

 HUSBAND and WIFE covenant and agree that HUSBAND shall have the exclusive use and

 occupancy of the said marital home with the understanding that WIFE shall be given a reasonable period of time from the execution of this Agreement to vacate herself from the premises. HUSBAND shall have the responsibility and obligation to pay the indebtedness on the property inclusive of principal, interest, taxes and insurance. [Emphasis added]

 The agreement goes on to provide for various contingencies with respect to the residence. We have studied the agreement with some care. We find nothing in it which would relieve Danny of the obligation to pay the indebtedness secured by the residence so long as he resides there.

 The agreement further provides that

 The parties agree, stipulate, and consent that the provisions of this Agreement may be incorporated into any decree of divorce entered in the action pending in the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi, with prior consent of said court.

 Thereafter, on August 26, 1982, In The Matter of The Dissolution of The Marriage of Sharon J. Switzer and Danny Hall Switzer, Docket No. 20,605, the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi, entered its Final Decree of Divorce which decree in pertinent part provided:

 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Sharon J. Switzer and Danny Hall Switzer be, and they are hereby, ordered and directed to perform all terms and conditions contained in the Agreement entered into by and between them and attached hereto as Exhibit" A "and fully incorporated into this decree in words and figures.

 The agreement attached to the decree as Exhibit" A "is that from which we have quoted above.

 As fate would have it, Danny failed to make any payments on the house, which were in the amount of $488.97 per month. Notwithstanding, he continued to reside there.

 On May 27, 1983, Sharon commenced the instant proceedings in which she sought an adjudication that Danny was in contempt of court for his violation of the property settlement agreement incorporated as it was into the final decree of ...


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