OF JUDGMENT: 11/09/2015
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JACQUELINE ESTES MASK
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JAK MCGEE SMITH
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JASON D. HERRING, MICHAEL SPENCER
LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Michael Chadwick Smith (Mike) and Kimberly Marie Mull (Kim)
married in 2005, and had two children. In 2011, Kim was
granted a divorce from Mike on the ground of adultery, and
the parties were awarded joint legal custody of the children.
This appeal arises from certain provisions contained in the
parties' divorce decree. We must decide whether the
chancellor erred in (1) denying Mike's request for
modification of the visitation-exchange location, (2) finding
Mike in contempt of the divorce decree's alcohol
provision, and (3) awarding Kim $425 in attorneys' fees.
Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Mike and Kim were married in Kentucky in 2005, where they
both worked for the Toyota automobile-manufacturing company.
A plant later opened in Mississippi, and the parties
relocated to Tupelo. In 2011, Kim sought a divorce on the
ground that Mike had committed adultery-a fact that Mike
admitted. Mike countered, seeking a divorce from Kim for
habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Finding Mike's
claim without merit, the chancellor denied Mike relief, and
granted Kim a divorce. The parties were given joint legal
custody of their children, with Kim receiving physical
custody and Mike receiving liberal rights of visitation.
In 2012, Kim and the children relocated near Atlanta,
Georgia, which impacted Mike's visitation. As a result,
the parties modified their visitation agreement to meet in
Leeds, Alabama, a halfway point between Tupelo and Atlanta.
Because Mike was often in Kentucky for either work or
leisure, he requested that Kim meet him in Chattanooga,
Tennessee, and the parties did so for a time. Eventually,
however, problems arose with the visitation-exchange
location, and the parties could not agree regarding exchanges
when Mike was in Kentucky. Mike petitioned the chancery court
to modify the exchange location and order Kim to meet him
"at the most convenient location for the exchange of the
minor children." Kim counterclaimed asserting that Mike
was in contempt of the divorce decree after bringing the
children to a private neighborhood cookout where others were
The alcohol provision at issue in the divorce judgment
ordered: "The parties shall refrain from using alcohol .
. . in the presence of the children. Further, the parties
shall not allow others, including family members, to conduct
such activities in the presence of the minor children."
Both parties agreed to this provision in an agreed temporary
order, and neither appealed this specific provision in the
final judgment following their divorce.
Following a hearing, the chancellor found that modification
of the exchange point was unnecessary based upon the evidence
presented. The chancellor further found that Mike had
violated the alcohol provision of the divorce decree by
having the children in the presence of others using alcohol
when he knew beforehand that alcohol would be served. The
chancellor awarded Kim attorneys' fees for the contempt
complaint against Mike. In response, Mike filed a motion to
alter or amend the judgment or for clarification of the
chancellor's findings. He argued that the alcohol
provision was vague and ambiguous-thus he could not have
committed a willful violation resulting in the finding of
The chancellor found Mike's arguments unpersuasive and
upheld her finding of contempt. Per Mike's request,
however, the chancellor explained that her ruling
comprehended only the use of alcohol at private social
gatherings, and did not pertain to events in venues open to
the general public. Mike now appeals, arguing that: (1) the
chancellor erred in finding that Mike committed willful
contempt because the alcohol provision was vague and
ambiguous; (2) because Mike did not commit willful contempt,
the resulting attorneys' fees are erroneous; and (3) the
chancellor erred by declining to modify the exchange location
of the parties when Mike is not at his home in Tupelo.