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Carter v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 4, 2017

DEVEAUX CARTER APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
v.
ALLEN DAVIS APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/28/2014

         JACKSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. G. CHARLES BORDIS IV TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: WENDY WALKER BORRIES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: DAVID C. FRAZIER

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Allen Davis and Deveaux Carter, married on September 22, 1984, were divorced on February 18, 1993, on grounds of irreconcilable differences and with all issues resolved in an agreement for custody, support, and property settlement.

         ¶2. By their agreement, approved by the court as "fair, equitable, adequate and sufficient, " Deveaux received custody of the parties' two minor children: Annie, [1] born in 1986, and Amy, born in 1991. Allen was ordered to pay child support, medical expenses, extracurricular activity fees, college expenses, and medical insurance.

         ¶3. Five years later, in February 1998, they returned to court and, by agreed order, monthly support was set at $400 and a judgment for $22, 544.81 was entered for an arrearage of Allen's financial obligations under the original divorce judgment. Allen was ordered to pay no less than $800 per month toward the judgment, together with interest on the judgment and any other future arrearages at 8% per annum. At a scheduled review on April 17, 1998, the arrearage judgment was amended to $23, 182.66, and $500 in attorney's fees was ordered to be paid by Allen to Deveaux. An order for Allen to be incarcerated was suspended provided he paid $4, 000 on or before June 17, 1998. The required monthly payment toward the arrearage was reduced from $800 to $400.

         ¶4. Fifteen years later, shortly after their last child became emancipated, on February 25, 2013, Deveaux filed for contempt against Allen for a second time, alleging an arrearage of $23, 682.66, accrued interest of $35, 599.55, an arrearage of $66, 390 for Annie's college expenses and $22, 274.55 for Amy's college expenses, medical expenses of $8, 588.13 for Annie and $5, 115.72 for Amy, half of the cost of the vehicles for each child, attorney's fees, and costs of court.

         ¶5. The trial began on October 14, 2014, with the parties stipulating Amy's college costs to be $30, 000 and Allen's obligation for medical expenses for both children to be $10, 000.

         ¶6. The court determined the remainder of Allen's financial obligations under prior orders of the court to be $201, 187.66.[2] Allen was given credit for direct payments to the children as well as amounts given both to Deveaux and the children (even after their emancipation) and the payments from his mother, Isabella Mann. The amount totaled $197, 911, leaving an arrearage of $3, 276.66, for which a judgment was rendered in favor of Deveaux. Allen was also taxed with $7, 500 in attorney's fees and costs by the chancellor.

         ¶7. Deveaux appeals, arguing she is entitled to more than awarded her by the chancellor. She objects to credit having been allowed to Allen for direct payments to the children both by him and Mann, some of which were post-emancipation.

         ¶8. Allen cross-appeals, arguing that though adjudicated to be in contempt, he was determined by the chancellor not to be in "willful and intentional" contempt and thus not obligated to pay fees to ...


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