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Miles v. Miles

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 27, 2015

C.H. MILES, APPELLANT
v.
BRENDA C. MILES, APPELLEE

Page 856

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WINSTON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/17/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH KILGORE. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JUDGMENT OF CONTEMPT ENTERED.

FOR APPELLANT: JEFFREY J. HOSFORD.

FOR APPELLEE: J. MAX KILPATRICK, CALEB ELIAS MAY.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. CARLTON, J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

Page 857

JAMES, J.

¶1. On May 17, 2013, the Winston County Chancery Court entered a judgment finding Carlos H. Miles Jr. in contempt and granting other relief for Carlos's failure to comply with the property-settlement agreement that had been incorporated into a divorce judgment entered on February 16, 2000. Carlos appeals. Finding error in the chancellor's finding of contempt and award of attorney's fees, we reverse and render in part, but affirm in all other respects.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On February 16, 2000, Carlos and Brenda Miles were granted a judgment of divorce in the Chancery Court of Winston County. Pursuant to the terms of the property-settlement agreement, Carlos was ordered to place Brenda's name on Carlos's individual retirement account (IRA) as a joint tenant with full rights of survivorship. On October 16, 2012, Brenda filed a motion for contempt alleging that Carlos had willfully, contemptuously, and intentionally refused to place her name on the IRA account, and asking that the Carlos be ordered to pay her $28,929.72, one-half of the of the total value of the account.[1]

¶3. A hearing on the motion for contempt was held on May 1, 2013. Brenda testified that on the day that the judgment of divorce was entered, she and Carlos went to the Bank of Mississippi to have Brenda's name added to the IRA. According to Brenda, they spoke to Ilene Estes,[2] a bank officer, who told them that the bank could not add Brenda's name to Carlos's IRA and that if they withdrew the funds at that time, the account would incur penalties and they would lose half of the money in the account. Brenda stated that Estes recommended that the funds be left in the IRA until they matured; then the funds could be withdrawn and divided without incurring penalties. After leaving the bank, Brenda testified that a conversation took place between her and Carlos in which Carlos stated that they would leave the funds in the IRA until a date closer to his retirement when the funds matured.

¶4. Carlos also testified at the hearing. Carlos's version of the events on the day the judgment of divorce was entered differed from Brenda's account. Carlos testified that on February 16, 2000, he went to the bank alone and met with Estes. According to Carlos, he presented Estes with the judgment of divorce and the property-settlement agreement and asked that Brenda be added to the IRA account; however, Estes told Carlos that Brenda's name could not be added because " IRA means exactly what it says: individual retirement account. . . . You're an individual. You can't put two names on it." Carlos said that he called Brenda from Estes's office and informed her that he was unable to add her to the account. According to Carlos, Brenda said that she would contact her attorney and advise him of the situation; however, Carlos testified that Brenda did not contact him further about the matter.

¶5. According to Brenda, she contacted the bank in 2009 to check on the status of the IRA account and discovered that nearly half of the money in the IRA had ...


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