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Shumake v. Shumake

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

September 18, 2014

LESLIE B. SHUMAKE, JR.
v.
KATARINA SITTON SHUMAKE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/10/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WOODROW WILSON BRAND, JR.

FOR APPELLANT: LESLIE B. SHUMAKE, JR., SABRINA D. HOWELL, A. E. (RUSTY) HARLOW, JR.

FOR APPELLEE: T. JACKSON LYONS.

KING, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR. LAMAR, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

KING, JUSTICE.

¶1. The DeSoto County Chancery Court granted a Final Judgment of Divorce to Leslie B. Shumake Jr. and Katarina

Page 353

Sitton Shumake in February 2009. In the judgment, the chancellor ordered Leslie to pay Katarina $5,750 per month in periodic alimony. Shortly thereafter, in March 2009, Katarina filed a complaint for citation for contempt, claiming that Leslie had not paid the amount of alimony ordered by the chancellor. From the time Katarina filed her initial contempt complaint until April 2012, the chancery court held hearings and entered various orders addressing the alimony and Leslie's arrearage. In the end, the chancellor concluded that Leslie owed Katarina $58,550, plus interest, in arrearage.

¶2. Leslie appealed the chancellor's order, and the case was assigned to the Court of Appeals. See Shumake v. Shumake, __ So.3d __, 2013 WL 6171303 (Miss.Ct.App. Nov. 26, 2013). The Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that " on [the] unique facts [of the present case], we find that it would be fundamentally unfair and unjust to charge Leslie with a $58,550 arrearage." [WL] at *4. Thus, the Court of Appeals reversed and rendered this portion of the chancellor's order. Id. Having granted Katarina's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, we now consider whether the Court of Appeals erred by holding the arrearage award should be reversed and rendered.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN THE CHANCERY COURT

¶3. The DeSoto County Chancery Court entered a Final Judgment of Divorce, granting Katarina a divorce from Leslie on the grounds of uncondoned adultery, on February 29, 2009. In the divorce judgment, the chancellor ordered Leslie to pay Katarina $5,750 per month in alimony, which was to be paid beginning February 1, 2009. On March 12, 2009, Katarina filed an Amended Complaint for Citation for Contempt, claiming, inter alia, that Leslie had paid only $650 per week in alimony, rather than the $5,750 per month ordered by the chancellor. Around this same time, Leslie filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In response to Katarina's contempt complaint, Leslie claimed he was unable to pay the $5,750 per month alimony.

¶4. On August 24, 2009, the chancellor entered an Order on Katarina's contempt complaint, finding that Leslie was in arrears to Katarina in the amount of $19,300. Some $16,400 of this amount resulted from the alimony arrearage. To address the arrearage, the chancellor ordered Leslie to convey his interest in the former marital home to Katarina via quitclaim deed. Leslie's interest in the home was valued at $16,250. Because the value of Leslie's interest in the home did not equal the arrearage amount, the chancellor ordered that Leslie immediately provide Katarina with the difference ...


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