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MERYL MINCHEW BRAND v. SAMUEL MANSELL BRAND

JANUARY 22, 1986

MERYL MINCHEW BRAND
v.
SAMUEL MANSELL BRAND, JR.



BEFORE WALKER, P.J.; PRATHER AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This appeal presents the questions whether and from what date interest should accrue on the principal amount of court-ordered child support payments not paid when due. Because each such payment in a very real sense becomes a fixed and unalterable obligation of the supporting spouse from the date due, we determine today that our interest on judgments statute mandates the accrual of interest on each such payment from the date due. We reverse the chancellor's refusal to award such interest in the case at bar.

 II.

 On July 27, 1976, the Chancery Court of Forrest County, Mississippi, entered its decree granting to Meryl Minchew Brand (" Meryl "), Plaintiff below and Appellant here, a divorce of and from Samuel Mansell Brand, Jr. (" Samuel "), Defendant below and Appellee here. In that decree, Meryl was granted permanent custody of the one child born of the marriage, namely, Samuel Todd Brand, born November 23, 1973, then two years of age. Relevant here is that portion of the decree which directed Samuel to pay to Meryl as child support the sum of $150 per month on August 1, 1976, and on the first day of each and every month thereafter.

 By June 25, 1984, Samuel was substantially behind on his child support payments. Meryl commenced the present action by filing in the Chancery Court of Forrest County her motion to have Samuel cited for contempt, alleging inexcusable child support arrearages in the sum of $4,870. In due course, the chancellor found that the delinquent payments aggregated $2,720, that Samuel had paid into the registry of the court the sum of $1550, leaving a net delinquency as of January 25, 1985, in the amount of $1170. On that date, January 25, 1985, the chancellor adjudged Samuel in contempt of the July 27, 1976, decree and entered judgment in favor of Meryl and against Samuel in the amount of $1170 but provided that

 said judgment is without interest and execution is suspended until further order of the court.

 Meryl has appealed, complaining of that portion of the judgment as fails to include interest and suspends execution.

 III.

 A.

 (1)

 Without doubt, so much of the judgment of January 25, 1985, as provides that" said judgment is without interest "is error. We have so held in Walters v. Walters, 383 So. 2d 827, 829 (Miss. 1980), cited with approval in Brown v. Gillespie, 465 So. 2d 1046, 1049 (Miss. 1985).

 The question presented is from what date does interest run. In his brief Samuel concedes that the judgment is one which must bear interest as a matter of law. Miss. Code Ann. 75-17-7 (Supp. 1985). He argues, however, that interest should run only from the date of the chancery court's delinquency judgment, January 25, 1985. Meryl, on the other hand, argues that interest at the legal rate

 should be computed on each installment of child support as it becomes due, and not on the aggregate amount in delinquency at ...


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