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Luckett v. Luckett

December 30, 1998

MARILEE S. LUCKETT (SOUTHWORTH) APPELLANT
v.
DAVID B. LUCKETT APPELLEE



Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hinkebein, J., For The Court:

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/13/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PAT WISE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE IN THE AMOUNT OF $9,928.06 FOR ARREARAGES, ATTORNEY'S FEES, AND COURT COSTS

¶1. This appeal stems from an October 1997 judgment of modification and subsequent order denying a motion to amend that judgment whereby the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County assessed arrearages, attorney's fees, and court costs to Marilee Luckett, now Marilee Southworth, [hereinafter Marilee], based on the non-payment of child support owed to her former husband, David Luckett [hereinafter David], pursuant to an automatic adjustment clause previously imposed by the court. Aggrieved by the chancellor's decision, Marilee appeals citing the following assignment of error:

I. DID THE CHANCELLOR ERR IN ENFORCING THE AUTOMATIC ADJUSTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS?

Holding this assignment of error to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of the chancery court.

FACTS

¶2. Marilee and David were originally granted a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences in January 1982. In the property settlement agreement, the parties agreed that custody of their two young sons, Andrew and Zachary, would live with Marilee with David making monthly child support payments. However, they did so with the understanding that she would continue to reside with the children in Central Mississippi to facilitate visitation with their father. Therefore, when she chose to move out-of-state in 1991, Marilee and David revisited their prior arrangement and concluded, as reflected in a February 1993 modification order, that physical custody of the boys should be given to David. Within that order appeared the following language:

"Marilee shall contribute to the support and maintenance of the minor children and David should be and hereby is awarded the sum of $80 per month to be paid by Marilee as support and maintenance for the minor children, which payment shall be made no later than the fifth day of each month commencing with the month of January, 1993. The total of $80 per month in child support does not comply with the support guidelines of Miss. Code Ann. § 43-19-1, et seq. (Supp. 1992) as Marilee is unemployed. Upon Marilee's becoming gainfully employed for at least 30 hours a week, she shall pay monthly child support in an amount consistent with the guidelines set forth in Miss. Code Ann. § 43-19-1, et seq. (Supp. 1992)."

As envisioned by the chancellor, Marilee eventually secured full-time employment in March of 1995 but failed to increase her support payments as required. Consequently, in March of 1997, David filed a petition for modification and contempt asking, among other things, that his ex-wife pay the arrearages due under this clause. From an adverse ruling of the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District ...


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