BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., PRATHER AND ZUCCARO, JJ.
PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
Civil contempt of court is the subject of this appeal from an order of the Chancery Court of Choctaw County. On April 4, 1986, Charles Michael Jones was held in civil contempt and imprisoned until he paid certain arrearages in child support. The chancellor also issued a writ of ne exeat. On appeal, Jones assigns as error the following:
(1) The Chancery Court of Choctaw County erred when it
barred the appellant from court and denied a hearing on his present inability to comply with the court order, with the result that Charles Michael Jones spent six months in jail for civil contempt.
(2) The Chancery Court of Choctaw County erred when it issued a writ of ne exeat on an ex parte application and thereafter denied Charles Michael Jones a hearing on the validity of the writ.
Jones and Hargrove were divorced on September 15, 1981, on the ground of irreconcilable differences. They were the parents of three minor children for whom support was ordered in the amount of $300.00 per month. Upon motion of Hargrove, on January 5, 1983, the chancellor ordered Jones to pay, inter alia, child support in arrears. Apparently, payment of the majority of the past due child support was made. Thus begins a long and detailed history of court proceedings aimed toward receiving the ordered child support.
On August 1, 1983, Jones filed a petition for modification of the prior divorce decree insofar as custody and child support were concerned. On August 29, Hargrove filed an answer and counter-claim seeking, inter alia, payment of past due child support payments with interest and an adjudication of contempt against Jones. Hargrove retained custody, and Jones was ordered to pay the child support arrearage which had accrued since his last payment.
On March 22, 1984, Hargrove again filed a motion to find the defendant in contempt. On April 10, 1984, the chancellor entered a default judgment, ordering that Jones be jailed until he paid the sum of $6,304.08. Jones admits he received notice and does not attack the validity of this order.
On November 7, 1985, the chancellor entered a supplemental judgment readopting and reaffirming the April 10th judgment, further ordering any law officer in the state to apprehend Jones and to imprison him until payment of the $6,304.08 adjudged against him on April 10, 1984. On the same day, Hargrove petitioned for a writ of ne exeat, signing an affidavit stating that Jones' whereabouts had not been known since April, 1984. Finding the petition meritorious, the chancellor issued a writ of ne exeat, on the same day, ordering any law officer of the state to arrest Jones and detain him until execution of a ne exeat bond in the sum of $20,000.
Jones was arrested and incarcerated on November 9, 1985. Thereafter, November 13, 1985, Hargrove filed a motion to supplement the April 10, 1984 order, to raise the judgment to $17,654.03. On January 13, 1986, Jones petitioned the court discharge or modify the writ of ne exeat. On motion of Hargrove, the chancellor dismissed Jones' petition on January 24, 1986 on the ground that the petition was not properly before the court because Jones had failed to purge himself of the court's former finding of contempt.
On January 31, 1986, Jones responded to Hargrove's motion to supplement by alleging his inability to pay the child support, being wholly without any financial resources whatever at the time, having been in jail since November 9, 1985. He also moved for modification of the decree finding him in contempt, praying the court to release him from the judgment, to lift the writ of ne exeat, to give him the opportunity to find a job, to set up a schedule of payments and to release him from responsibility of any further child support for the two older children.
On April 4, 1986, on motion of Hargrove, the chancellor dismissed all of Jones' motions and barred him from bringing any matter before the court until payment of $6,304.08 delinquent since before April 10, 1984. The court also found that at the time of the April 10, 1984 order, Jones was able to pay the amount of the judgment to Hargrove. Jones was held in civil contempt until he paid the above sum, and so long as it remained unpaid, Jones was barred from bringing any further matters before the court. It is this order, dismissing the petition for modification, which was initially appealed on April 11, 1986.
On April 18, 1986, Hargrove filed her second amended motion to supplement the April 10, 1984 order and was heard on April 25, 1986. On June 25, 1986 (the first filing of the record on appeal having been on June 3, 1986), the chancellor entered an order supplementing previous orders. Having been incarcerated since November and alleging a present inability to pay the delinquent child support ordered, Jones petitioned the circuit court for habeas corpus, which petition and release was granted. However, the chancellor ordered that Jones be imprisoned again until he pay $6,178.08 (the amount of the April 10, 1984 judgment less $126.00 received as a result of garnishment at that time), plus legal interest. [This Court ordered his release pending appeal, upon posting of an appearance bond. Jones v. ...