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Bowen v. Bowen

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 24, 2015

JOHN BARRY BOWEN APPELLANT
v.
PATRICIA LYNN (CURICO) BOWEN APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/02/2013

DESOTO COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. VICKI B. COBB TRIAL JUDGE:

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOE MORGAN WILSON

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: NANCY BALL LIDDELL

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND MAXWELL, JJ.

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. Aggrieved by the DeSoto County Chancery Court's award of $7, 350 in attorney's fees to his ex-wife Patricia Bowen, John Bowen appeals and asks this Court to determine if the chancery court erred in awarding Patricia attorney's fees or erred in calculating the total amount awarded.[1] Finding no error, we affirm the chancery court's judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. This case has already been reviewed by this Court in Bowen v Bowen, 107 So.3d 166 (Miss. Ct. App. 2012); therefore, we will only recite the facts necessary for the issues raised in this appeal.

¶3. On November 16, 2005, the chancery court granted John and Patricia a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences. Id. at 168 (¶2). Then, in April 2009, the chancery court found John in contempt for his failure to pay child support and his portion of the children's medical-insurance premiums. Id. at 168-69 (¶4). The chancery court also modified his child-support obligation from $300 per month to $500 per month, and it awarded Patricia $10, 000 in attorney's fees. Id. at 169 (¶4). John appealed these findings, and on appeal, this Court affirmed on all issues except for the issue of attorney's fees. Id. at 168 (¶1). In our opinion, we reversed and remanded the issue of attorney's fees for the chancery court to conduct a McKee analysis to determine the reasonableness of the award. Id. at 173 (¶27).[2]

¶4. Pursuant to this Court's remand, the chancery court held a hearing to reconsider the award of attorney's fees to Patricia. After hearing testimony from Patricia and her attorney about the attorney's fees, the chancery court orally applied the McKee factors and awarded Patricia $7, 350 in attorney's fees. The chancery court's order reflecting the same was filed on May 2, 2013. Aggrieved, John again appeals the chancery court's judgment, and argues that "[t]he sole issue before this [appellate c]ourt is whether or not attorney['s] fees should be granted . . . [to Patricia, ] and if so[, ] how much."

ANALYSIS

¶5. John's sole issue on appeal is that the chancery court erred in awarding Patricia $7, 350 in attorney's fees. On appeal, we employ the abuse-of-discretion standard when reviewing a trial court's grant or denial of attorney's fees. Proctor v. Proctor, 143 So.3d 615, 623 (¶34) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (citing Miss. Power & Light Co. v. Cook, 832 So.2d 474, 478 (¶7) (Miss. 2002)). In McKee v. McKee, 418 So.2d 764, 767 (Miss. 1982), the Mississippi Supreme Court provided factors for consideration when determining the proper amount of attorney's fees to award:

The fee depends on consideration of, in addition to the relative financial ability of the parties, the skill and standing of the attorney employed, the nature of the case and novelty and difficulty of the questions at issue, as well as the degree of responsibility involved in the management of the cause, the time and labor required, the usual and customary charge in the ...

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