Before Bridges, C.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/21/1997
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. STUART ROBINSON
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: REDUCTION IN CHILD SUPPORT; RELIEF FROM PAYMENT OF BACK CHILD SUPPORT
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/98
¶1. This case is on appeal from an order of modification of child support entered by the Hinds County Chancery Court, the Honorable Stuart Robinson, presiding against the appellant, Vikki Massingale, on November 21, 1997. Feeling aggrieved, Vikki timely filed her notice of appeal, *fn1 challenging the chancery court's modification of the original decree reducing child support and relieving Mims of arrears allegedly owed by him for the summers of 1994 and 1995. After review of the record and applicable precedents, we sustain the chancellor below and overrule Vikki's assignments of error.
¶2. Vikki Massingale (formerly Vikki Wright) and Mims Wright, Jr. were married on March 5, 1977. The union produced three children, namely Mims Hughes Wright, Elizabeth Watson Wright, and Neal Price Wright. The couple separated on June 15, 1991 because of irreconcilable differences. On January 21, 1992, Vikki and Mims entered into a child custody and property settlement agreement. The couple was granted a divorce and approval of their settlement agreement by the Hinds County Chancery Court on January 22, 1992. Vikki was awarded custody of the couple's three children, and Mims agreed to pay Vikki child support in the amount of $1,800 per month. The agreement also provided a visitation schedule.
¶3. Subsequent to the entry of the divorce decree, Mims moved to New Orleans and Vikki, her new husband, and the children moved to Boulder, Colorado. On July 3, 1993, Mims filed for a downward modification of his child support obligations, citing a substantial change in his financial status and the fact that Vikki's moving the children to Colorado required him to incur extraordinary travel expenses in order to exercise his visitation rights. In an effort to "buy peace", Vikki proposed a temporary agreed order to reduce child support in this case in April 1994; however, for reasons unclear in the record, the order was never filed in the chancery court. The couple operated on what both thought was a legal modification of their agreement through 1994 and 1995. On July 30, 1996, before her filing of this present litigation, Vikki rescinded the proposed temporary reduction after learning it was never formally filed with the chancery court. On October 31, 1996, Vikki filed her motion for citation of contempt. On January 22, 1997, Mims filed his answer to Vikki's motion, seeking enforcement of the never-filed agreed modification as well as a reduction in child support due to a material change in his financial circumstances.
¶4. On June 2, 1997, a trial on the merits was conducted before Hinds County Chancellor Stuart Robinson. After the trial, both parties submitted proposed findings of fact. On November 21, 1997, the chancery court issued its order of modification, enforcing the never-filed but followed agreement of modification of child support between Vikki and Mims as well as ...