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Watkins v. Roberts

March 24, 1998

WATKINS
v.
ROBERTS



Before Bridges, C.j., Coleman, Diaz, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J

ELIZABETH DOLORES PORTALATIN ROBERTS WATKINS, APPELLANT v. TIMOTHY BRIAN ROBERTS, APPELLEE

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: MAY 13, 1996

TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE PERCY LEE LYNCHARD, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CHANCELLOR MODIFIED VISITATION AND FOUND APPELLANT IN CONTEMPT

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 3/24/98

The parties were divorced in 1991, but have had frequent occasion to return to court to enforce or seek revision to elements of the divorce. In 1995 Timothy Roberts sought a contempt order against his ex-wife, Elizabeth Watkins, and a change of custody for the parties' children. The court found Watkins in contempt, changed visitation somewhat from an earlier order, and ordered Watkins to pay attorney fees. On appeal Watkins argues that the Desoto County Chancery Court did not have jurisdiction because neither former spouse still lives in Mississippi. She also seeks reversal of the other rulings of the chancellor. We find no error and affirm.

FACTS

Roberts and Watkins were married on September 3, 1985, and lived together until October 31, 1989. Their only children were twin girls, Dolores Diane Roberts and Amanda Starr Roberts, who were born November 26, 1986. On April 15, 1991, Roberts and Watkins consented to a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. They entered into a child custody and property settlement agreement that was incorporated into the final judgment of divorce. It was agreed that the mother, Watkins, would have custody and the father, Roberts, would have periodic visitation.

After the divorce, both parties left the state. Roberts settled in Indiana with his grandmother, and Watkins relocated to Utah where she remarried. Watkins filed a petition to enroll the Mississippi divorce decree in Utah. Roberts and Watkins consistently disagreed concerning the child visitation schedule. The record reveals that the chancery court entered at least six separate orders establishing visitation between Roberts and the children. On July 14, 1995, Roberts and Watkins agreed to a visitation schedule which provided Roberts with visitation privileges with the children from June 10, 1995, until July 15, 1995, and for six weeks during subsequent summer vacations. On November 14, 1995, the chancery court found that Roberts was denied his summer visitation as provided in the order dated July 14.*fn1 Consequently, the court determined that Roberts would receive an additional six days of visitation during the children's Christmas holidays.

On January 22, 1996, Roberts filed a petition to cite Watkins for contempt, to retain jurisdiction, and for change of custody of the children, alleging that he was denied visitation during the Christmas holidays. Watkins admitted that the chancery court had jurisdiction to hear the contempt dispute, but she asserted that the court lacked jurisdiction to resolve the remaining allegations. Watkins ...


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