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Parrish v. Parrish

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 31, 2017

JAIME C. PARRISH APPELLANT
v.
PAUL R. PARRISH APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/27/2016

         ALCORN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JOHN ANDREW HATCHER TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RICHARD SHANE MCLAUGHLIN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JOHN A. FERRELL

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. Paul and Jaime Parrish consented to a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences and submitted to the Alcorn County Chancery Court the determination and distribution of the marital estate and Jaime's alimony request. In this appeal, we must decide whether the chancellor erred when he (1) classified the marital home as Paul's partially separate property, (2) classified Paul's retirement account as separate property, and (3) declined to award Jaime alimony. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Paul and Jaime were married in 2007 and separated in 2014. They continued to live in the same home until they were officially divorced in 2016. When they married, Paul was fifty-four and Jaime was forty-nine years old. They met at the United States Postal Service (USPS), where they both worked as mail carriers. Paul and Jaime had no children together, but each had adult children from prior relationships. Additionally, Jaime had custody of her minor grandson by her daughter from a previous marriage.

         ¶3. During the marriage, Paul and Jaime lived together in a home that Paul owned for approximately twenty-eight years prior to the marriage. In April 2009, Paul executed a warranty deed conveying the home and real property to himself and Jaime in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. Jaime and Paul remodeled the home together during the marriage. The chancellor found, and the parties generally agree, that the home was in terrible condition at the time Jaime moved in. Both parties paid for and contributed labor toward numerous improvements to the home during the marriage. Throughout the marriage, Jaime invested about $50, 000 from an inheritance and her own earnings into remodeling and repairing the marital home. Both parties claimed in their Uniform Chancery Court Rule 8.05 financial statements that the home was worth $100, 000.

         ¶4. The chancellor found that "[Paul] brought into this marriage the marital home, and it was lien free, and for that, the Court is giving the Plaintiff a $25, 000.00 credit off the $100, 000.00 value thereof in its equitable distribution and considering that portion as non-marital." As a result, the chancellor valued the home in the marital estate at $75, 000, rather than the parties' agreed valuation of $100, 000. Additionally, the chancellor classified Paul's retirement account as separate property, and declined to award Jaime alimony. Jaime now appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. "This Court employs a limited standard of review of property division and distribution in divorce cases." Sims v. Sims, 169 So.3d 937, 940 (¶10) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (quoting Bowen v. Bowen, 982 So.2d 385, 393 (¶32) (Miss. 2008)). "This Court will not disturb the chancellor's opinion when supported by substantial evidence unless the chancellor abused his discretion, was manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous, or an erroneous legal standard was applied." Stroh v. Stroh, 221 So.3d 399, 406 (¶17) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017) (quoting Mabus v. Mabus, 890 So.2d 806, 819 (¶53) (Miss. 2003)). When reviewing issues of law, our standard is de novo. Id. (citing Lowrey v. Lowrey, 25 So.3d 274, 285 (¶26) (Miss. 2009)).

         ¶6. "The chancellor's distribution of the marital assets will be affirmed as long as 'it is supported by substantial credible evidence.'" Sims, 169 So.3d at 940 (¶10) (quoting Bowen, 982 So.2d at 394 (ΒΆ32)). "In addition, 'alimony awards are within the chancellor's discretion and will not be reversed by the Court on appeal absent manifest error or an abuse of ...


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