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DECEMBER 09, 1987




Today's case presents a question arising with increasing frequency: one spouse in a new marriage attends professional or graduate school while the other earns the couple's keep. After graduation but before the marriage begins to reap the economic benefits of this professional training, the parties get divorced.

On occasion at the time of the divorce the professionally trained spouse is sufficiently impecunious that no alimony should be awarded. In such cases, we direct that the Chancery Court generally should retain jurisdiction of the alimony feature of the case and pursuant thereto entertain subsequent application for award of alimony.



 Leo F. McNally, Jr., and Cecile McNally were married on May 29, 1976, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Of this marriage there has been born one child, Jamie McNally, a female, born on February 11, 1982. The McNallys permanently separated in June of 1984. Cecile McNally is the Appellant here, while Leo is the Appellee.

 At the time the McNallys married, Leo had completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Cecile had received her associate's degree in nursing from Jefferson Davis Junior College and was employed as a nurse. Leo enlisted in the military, as the couple had planned, and soon after their wedding, the McNallys moved to Oklahoma for Leo to begin his military service. From Oklahoma they were transferred to Texas, where they remained until Leo was discharged in 1979. The couple then moved to Memphis, where Leo hoped to enroll in dental school. When Leo was unable to gain admission to the dental school, the McNallys moved to Oxford, Mississippi, and Leo took courses at the University of Mississippi in an effort to raise his grade point average. He was successful, and in 1980, the couple relocated to Jackson and purchased a home. Leo then began his studies at the University of Mississippi Dental School.

 In 1981, Cecile unexpectedly became pregnant. The McNallys had not planned to have children immediately. During the early months of her pregnancy, Cecile developed complications and was hospitalized. On the day she was admitted to the hospital, Leo visited her and told her that he was going hunting. When she explained the seriousness of her

 condition, he stated that he was under a lot of pressure and had not been hunting in some time. Cecile was in the hospital for three days, and Leo did not return from his hunting trip until the day after she was discharged.

 In that same year, Leo became involved in an adulterous relationship. There appears in the record correspondence from his partner which indicates that this relationship continued during Cecile's pregnancy. Shortly after Cecile was discharged from the hospital, Leo expressed to her his concern about their finances and the added expense of having a baby. He suggested an abortion. Cecile was not receptive to this suggestion, and within a few weeks of this conversation, Leo moved out. Cecile received no financial support from Leo during the time that he was gone. Leo subsequently returned home, although the record does not indicate the precise date. The couple obtained marital counseling, during which Cecile forgave Leo's adultery. On February 11, 1982, Jamie was born.

 After graduating from dental school, Leo obtained employment of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In anticipation of their move to Gulfport, Cecile resigned from her $1,500.00 per month job in Jackson and accepted employment in Gulfport at $1,000.00 per month. A few weeks after Cecile had submitted her resignation, Leo told her he wanted a divorce. Because the position from which she had resigned had already been filled, Cecile found it necessary to move to Gulfport and accept the lower paying job which she had been offered there.


 On July 30, 1984, Leo F. McNally, Jr., commenced the present proceeding by filing his complaint in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Harrison County, Mississippi. In this complaint Leo, acting individually, sought a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences. Cecile filed an answer and counterclaimed for divorce on the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. In her complaint she asked for custody of the child, child support and alimony. Leo then filed an amended complaint alleging habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, and subsequently he filed yet another complaint in which he requested alimony and certain other relief.

 On September 24, 1984, the Chancery Court entered a temporary judgment placing custody of the minor child, Jamie, with Cecile and ordering that Leo pay $200.00 per month in child support. The temporary judgment also ordered ...

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