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Russell v. Russell

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 7, 2014

HAROLD LEO RUSSELL, SR., APPELLANT
v.
GRACIE COCHRAN RUSSELL, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: SCOTT COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/15/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.H. DAVID CLARK II. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DENIED APPELLANT'S PETITION FOR MODIFICATION OF ALIMONY.

FOR APPELLANT: J. EDWARD RAINER.

FOR APPELLEE: EARL P. JORDAN JR.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. GRIFFIS, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 1053

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

CARLTON, J.

¶1. Harold Leo Russell Sr. (Leo) appeals the Scott County Chancery Court's denial of his petition for modification of alimony. On appeal, Leo raises the following issues: (1) whether the chancellor erred by denying his petition to terminate or modify his alimony payments; and (2) whether the chancellor erred by refusing to admit into evidence certain deposition testimony. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶2. Leo and Gracie Cochran Russell divorced in 1978. As a result of the divorce judgment, Leo was ordered to pay Gracie $2,500 each month in permanent alimony. In 2006, Leo filed his first petition for termination or reduction of his alimony payments. The chancellor dismissed the petition without prejudice. In 2011, Leo filed a second petition for termination or reduction of his alimony payments, which is the subject of the current litigation between the parties.

¶3. In an order entered in May 2012, the chancellor reduced Leo's monthly alimony payments to $1,553 after determining that Gracie received $947 each month in Social Security benefits from Leo's earnings. After hearing all the evidence and testimony presented by the parties, the chancellor entered a final order in which he found that Leo failed to demonstrate a material change in circumstances or an inability to meet his alimony obligation. The chancellor therefore denied Leo's petition for termination or modification of his alimony payments. Leo filed a motion to grant a new hearing or, in the alternative, to alter, amend, or otherwise reconsider the chancellor's final order. The chancellor denied Leo's motion. Aggrieved by the chancellor's ruling, Leo appeals to this Court.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶4. " This Court's standard of review in domestic relations matters is extremely limited." Phillips v. Phillips, 45 So.3d 684, 692 (¶ 23) (Miss.Ct.App. 2010). We will not disturb a chancellor's findings unless the findings were manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous or unless the chancellor applied an erroneous legal standard. Id. Where the record contains substantial ...


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