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In re Dissolution of Marriage of Hanlin

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 17, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE OF JAMES ALBERT HANLIN AND MELANIE D. HANLIN:
v.
MELANIE D. HANLIN, APPELLEE JAMES ALBERT HANLIN, APPELLANT

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/27/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.J. DEWAYNE THOMAS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT REFORMED; HUSBAND ORDERED TO PROVIDE INSURANCE BENEFITS.

FOR APPELLANT: DAVID NEIL MCCARTY.

FOR APPELLEE: BRADLEY MICHAEL GLAZE.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., CARLTON AND MAXWELL, JJ. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 475

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

LEE, C.J.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶1] James Hanlin and Melanie Hanlin were marred in 1988. In 2007, the Hinds County Chancery Court granted James and Melanie a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences. The judgment incorporated a child-custody and property-settlement agreement (PSA). The PSA provided that James would " maintain in full force and effect the insurance benefits that are allowable by statute to the divorced spouse of a retired military person[.]" Melanie testified that she understood the clause to mean that for one year following the divorce, she would be covered under the same insurance, Tricare, that she had been covered under during the marriage.

[¶2] During 2008, Melanie had surgery at Baptist Hospital for a " frozen shoulder," which included a disc fusion and physical-therapy rehabilitation. Although Tricare preapproved the surgery and paid the initial bills, it did not continue to pay the bills

Page 476

and requested reimbursement for the amount it had already paid. Melanie did not discover the lapse in coverage until 2009. Because she did not pay the medical bills that had accrued, Healthcare Financial Services LLC, the collection agent for Baptist Hospital, sued Melanie for the outstanding payments.

[¶3] On April 24, 2012, James moved to enforce the terms of the PSA, specifically that Melanie refinance or sell the home since the minor child was emancipated. Along with her answer to James's motion, Melanie filed a counter-petition to find James in contempt for: (1) failing to maintain health-insurance coverage under the terms of the PSA, (2) failing to pay the balance of the Discover credit card, and (3) failing to pay the $2,910.66 awarded in the September 2, 2010 judgment after Melanie moved for modification and contempt.[1] On June 12, 2012, James moved to dismiss his motion to enforce the terms of the PSA.

[¶4] A hearing addressing Melanie's counter-petition for contempt was held on September 27, 2012. On December 12, 2012, the chancellor entered a judgment nunc pro tunc to September 27, 2012, finding that under the PSA James was required to maintain Melanie's health insurance for one year after the divorce. The chancellor ordered both parties to negotiate a settlement with Healthcare Financial within ten days, and that both parties would be equally responsible for paying the settlement judgment within 120 days. The chancellor also ordered James to pay the outstanding ...


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