Before Bridges, C.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/13/1997
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. CHARLES D. THOMAS
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ALCORN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DIVORCE GRANTED ON IRRECONCILEABLE DIFFERENCES; APPELLEE AWARDED LUMP SUM AND REHABILITATIVE ALIMONY
DISPOSITION: REVERSED AND REMANDED - 12/18/98
¶1. Jeannie Driste appeals from a decision of the Alcorn County Chancery Court alleging error in the trial court's failure to award permanent periodic alimony, adequate rehabilitative and lump sum alimony, and failure to divide the marital estate equitably. We agree that the overall alimony award was inadequate based on the evidence. We therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings.
¶2. Jeannie and Michael Driste were married in 1988 in Madison County, Alabama. In 1997 they were divorced in Alcorn County, Mississippi, on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. During the course of this marriage, both spouses changed employment several times. Mr. Driste twice moved into new jobs, each time increasing his income. His last employment before the divorce caused them to move from Alabama to Mississippi when he took a job for $70,000 per year. At the time of the divorce, Mr. Driste was making over $96,000 per year with this employer. Mrs. Driste was working part time. The couple had no children, but Mrs. Driste has an adult son from a prior marriage.
¶3. Mrs. Driste has a high school diploma and attended but did not complete college. Mr. Driste has a bachelor's degree in marketing/management from the University of North Alabama. His current earning capacity substantially exceeds that of his former wife.
¶4. Mrs. Driste suffers from two protruding disks in her back and has been under a psychologist's care resulting from the stress of the separation and divorce. She also suffers from headaches though she testified to being in good physical health.
¶5. The chancellor did not grant permanent periodic alimony. He ordered $750 per month in rehabilitative periodic alimony for eighteen months, $20,000 in lump sum alimony, and $4,537.50 in attorney's fees. He required Mr. Driste to pay all credit card and other debts of the parties except those incurred by Mrs. Driste after January 24, 1997, to pay $1,500 towards her Magnolia Hospital bill, $600 towards her psychologist's bill, and also to pay her 1/3 of the 1996 federal and state income tax returns which Michael Driste had deposited into his account. The marital home was to be sold with any profits used to satisfy all of the outstanding debts against that property and the ...