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Brewer v. Holliday

Supreme Court of Mississippi

January 9, 2014

DONALD R. BREWER
v.
PENNY MATHIS HOLLIDAY

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MONROE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/22/2011. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. TALMADGE D. LITTLEJOHN.

FOR APPELLANT: R. SHANE McLAUGHLIN, NICOLE H. McLAUGHLIN.

FOR APPELLEE: ELIZABETH FOX AUSBERN.

DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE. WALLER, C.J., RANDOLPH, P.J., LAMAR, KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 118

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

EN BANC.

DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

¶1. Donald and Penny Brewer and their respective attorneys negotiated, agreed to, and signed off on a proposed order that changed custody of one of the parties' two children, John, to Donald, and reduced his child-support obligation. Although the attorneys failed to present the order to the chancellor, the Brewers - believing it had been entered - complied with its terms for several years. But when the chancellor later learned that Donald had paid the reduced amount of child support, he refused to admit any evidence of the agreement, ordered Donald to pay the full

Page 119

amount of arrearage, and held him in contempt. We hold that Donald should not have been held in contempt; that he is entitled to credit for any payment of support he made directly to, or on behalf of, John; and that the chancellor should have granted Penny a judgment for past-due child support, reduced by the credit. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a hearing consistent with this opinion.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. When Donald R. Brewer and Penny Mathis Holliday divorced in 2005, the chancellor awarded physical custody of their two minor children to Penny and ordered Donald to pay $1,185 per month in child support. Soon after the divorce was final, one of the children, John, moved in with Donald, ...


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