OF JUDGMENT: 08/31/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON.
JACQUELINE ESTES MASK, JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL LEE DULANEY
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JASON D. HERRING MICHAEL SPENCER
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.
In this appeal, the primary issue is whether the chancellor
failed to make specific findings of facts and conclusions of
law as required by Ferguson. Because the chancellor
failed to do so, we reverse and remand.
Janice Loden Sullivan filed a complaint for divorce on March
8, 2014, in the Lee County Chancery Court against her
husband, James Wayne Sullivan. Ultimately, the parties
consented to an irreconcilable-differences divorce and
submitted the issues of equitable distribution, alimony, and
attorney's fees to the chancellor. The chancellor
executed a judgment of divorce on August 31, 2015, which was
filed with the chancery clerk on September 3, 2015. The
chancellor granted the divorce and divided the marital
assets. The chancellor also awarded Janice $1, 360 per month
from Wayne's retirement account "for up to twelve
years effective September 1, 2015."
Janice now appeals, raising several issues which we have
condensed as follows: (1) the chancellor did not make
specific findings pursuant to Ferguson, and (2) the
chancellor failed to make specific findings regarding the
Janice and Wayne were married in 1998 and separated in 2014.
At the time of the parties' marriage, Wayne was a dean at
Itawamba Community College, earning approximately $80, 000
per year. By the time he retired in 2010, his salary was
approximately $150, 000 per year. Wayne drew $8, 208.22 per
month in state retirement. After retirement, Wayne continued
to do contract work, earning approximately $6, 900 per month.
During trial, which was held in July 2015, Wayne testified
that he anticipated retiring from his contract position in
June 2016 and that the retirement account associated with
this position totaled $67, 767.
Janice was a registered nurse but quit working in 2012 due to
health issues. Janice received $1, 333 per month from a trust
established by her deceased mother. There was testimony that
Janice's father had regularly been giving Janice as much
as $29, 000 a year, sometimes in monthly installments.
The couple bought their current marital home, located in
Tupelo, Mississippi, in 2010, for $166, 000. They purchased
the home outright using $130, 000 from Janice's father
and the remainder from Wayne. The home was appraised at $220,