Before McMILLIN, P.j., Herring, And King, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herring, J., For The Court:
DATE OF JUDGMENT: FEBRUARY 6, 1997
TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE SEBE DALE, JR.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: FORREST COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AWARDED ONE HALF INTEREST OF MARITAL HOME TO APPELLEE, TERRY MCGEE
¶1. The Chancery Court of Forrest County, Mississippi, granted Karan Rees McGee (Rees) *fn1 a divorce from Terry Wayne McGee (McGee) on the grounds of adultery and equitably divided the marital property. Aggrieved of the judgment, Rees appeals asserting that the chancery court erred in: (1) awarding McGee a lien on the marital residence without requiring the joinder of all interested parties; (2) finding the residence was a marital asset despite the existence of a quitclaim deed previously executed by McGee; and (3) computing the equity established in the residence. We find that the chancellor abused his discretion, and therefore, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.
¶2. Karan Rees and Terry Wayne McGee were married on November 14, 1980, in Forrest County, Mississippi, and lived together until December 17, 1994. During the marriage, the parties had two children: Kristen Mical McGee and Cydney Larken McGee. On July 3, 1996, Rees filed for divorce on the grounds of uncondoned adultery and desertion. Rees also alleged that irreconcilable differences had arisen between the parties which entitled them to a divorce. McGee answered and denied the allegations set forth in Rees's complaint. In a counterclaim for divorce, McGee admitted that the parties were entitled to a divorce based on irreconcilable differences. He also requested that the chancery court award him reasonable visitation with the children and equitably divide the marital property.
¶3. During a hearing on the matter, McGee admitted that he had engaged in several adulterous relationships during the course of his marriage to Rees. He also acknowledged that he suffered from an addiction to crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. However, McGee testified that he had participated in a rehabilitation program, and he had not abused drugs for approximately seventeen months. Additionally, McGee testified that he executed a quitclaim deed and transferred the title to the marital residence to Rees and his daughter, Kristen, to protect the property from a potential civil action filed against him. McGee presented evidence relating to the equity established in the residence. He alleged that there was $54,000 in equity in the residence at the time the parties separated in 1994.
¶4. Rees testified that McGee's addiction to drugs resulted in a substantial dissipation of the marital assets. She stated that McGee failed to provide any financial support to her or the children during or following his drug problem. Contrary to McGee's testimony, Rees alleged that the parties agreed to transfer title to the marital residence to avoid a future probate in the event something happened to either party. Rees also testified that McGee approved the encumbrance of a deed of trust on the property to assist in the support and maintenance of the minor children. Moreover, Rees asserted that she contributed $40,000 which she received from the sale of a previous residence toward the purchase of the marital residence. Rees disputed the amount of equity in the residence and asserted that the remaining equity after the residence was refinanced totaled approximately $30,000.
¶5. At the Conclusion of the hearing, the chancery court Judge granted Rees a divorce from McGee based on the grounds of uncondoned adultery and awarded Rees custody of the two children subject to reasonable visitation by McGee. The chancellor noted that Hemsley v. Hemsley, 639 So. 2d 909 (Miss. 1994), Draper v. Draper, 658 So. 2d 866 (Miss. 1995), and Ferguson v. Ferguson, 639 So. 2d 921 (Miss. 1994) were applicable to the facts of the case. As a result, the court ordered McGee to pay $200 per month in child support. Although the court declined to adjudicate ownership of the residence, the court determined that McGee was entitled to an equitable distribution of the residence. Accordingly, the court awarded McGee the sum of $22,000 to be paid by Rees to McGee within 120 days of the entry of the final judgment. The court impressed a lien against the residence to secure payment of the award. The court also granted Rees ownership of the vehicles and then equitably divided the personal property of the parties. Aggrieved of chancery court's judgment, Rees now appeals to this Court.
¶6. Rees presents three issues on appeal which we take verbatim from her brief:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT IMPRESSED A LIEN IN FAVOR OF TERRY MCGEE UPON THE REAL PROPERTY WITHOUT JOINING KRISTEN ...