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Deckard v. Deckard

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 2, 2015

PATRICK W. DECKARD, APPELLANT
v.
LESA M. DECKARD, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WARREN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/06/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. VICKI R. BARNES. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: HELD FATHER IN CONTEMPT OF COURT.

AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL R. BONNER.

FOR APPELLEE: DAVID M. SESSUMS.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

Page 534

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

ISHEE, J.

[¶1] This case stems from the divorce between Patrick Deckard and Lesa Deckard entered on February 18, 2003. Lesa filed a complaint for contempt and other relief against Patrick. Patrick replied by filing an answer and cross-complaint for modification. A trial was held on February 20, 2014, in the Warren County Chancery Court. The chancellor entered a memorandum opinion and final judgment on March 6, 2014, which included the following: (1) Patrick's request to retroactively abate his child-support obligation was denied; (2) Patrick was found to be in contempt of court for his failure to pay $107,013 in child support, and Lesa was awarded a judgment for that amount against Patrick; (3) Patrick was found to be in contempt of court for his failure to pay $6,038.40 for his children's medical expenses, and Lesa was awarded a judgment for that amount against Patrick; (4) Patrick was ordered to pay Lesa $500 for her attorney's fees; (5) Patrick was ordered to pay Lesa $800 per month in child support for their sons, Austin Deckard and Sean Deckard, beginning on March 1, 2014, and continuing until they turn twenty-one years of age or are otherwise emancipated; and (6) the prior orders of the Warren County Chancery Court would otherwise remain in effect. Aggrieved, Patrick appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

[¶2] Patrick and Lesa were granted a divorce on December 18, 2003, on the ground of irreconcilable differences. They are the parents of three sons: Taylor Deckard, born November 15, 1994, and twins Austin and Sean, born on February 18, 1999. Patrick and Lesa were awarded joint legal custody of Taylor, Austin, and Sean. Lesa was awarded physical custody of the children, with Patrick receiving reasonable visitation rights. Patrick was ordered to pay $1,200 per month in child support and to maintain medical insurance on the children, and the court instructed Patrick and Lesa to equally pay all medical expenses not covered by medical insurance.

Page 535

[¶3] On August 21, 2013, Lesa filed a complaint for contempt and other relief, in which she claimed Patrick owed her $116,381, broken down in the following manner: $106,980 in past-due and unpaid child support; $7,197 in past-due and unreimbursed medical bills; and $2,203.83 in past-due and unreimbursed pharmacy bills. Patrick then filed a cross-complaint for modification, in which he argued that the final judgment of divorce required that all three children be under Lesa's care and control, but that Taylor moved in with his paternal grandparents approximately one month after the divorce. As a result, Patrick requested that the pleadings be retroactively modified to the date that Taylor moved out of Lesa's home. Patrick also asked to retroactively abate the child support to the date of the final judgment of divorce. Finally, Patrick requested that he be given credit for time that Sean lived with him and that Lesa pay Patrick child support for that time period as well.

[¶4] Patrick also alleged that he and Lesa agreed to three extrajudicial agreements modifying the amount of child support he paid. First, Patrick claims that they agreed that after Taylor moved in with his grandparents, child support could be reduced to $800 per month for the twins. Next, Patrick alleges that in March 2006, Lesa agreed to the sum of $600 per month in child support instead of $800 per month because Patrick's new wife was pregnant and on bed rest. Finally, Patrick stated that when Austin and Sean began attending a private school, Patrick and Lesa agreed that he ...


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