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Gipson v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 13, 2018

LACEDRIC D. GIPSON APPELLANT
v.
STEPHANIE NICOLE JACKSON APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/13/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: TIPPAH COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. GLENN ALDERSON TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RANDOLPH WALKER.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: B. SEAN AKINS.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND TINDELL, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Lacedric D. Gipson appeals a judgment from the Chancery Court of Tippah County. After a review of the record, we affirm the chancery court's decision to hold Gipson in contempt for unpaid medical bills; however, we reverse the chancery court's upward modification of child support and remand for the court to make specific on-the-record findings regarding the child-support guidelines and deviation criteria.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. At the time of the proceedings, Gipson and his wife had been married for approximately ten years. During the course of their marriage, Gipson fathered children with two other women, including Stephanie Jackson. Jackson and Gipson have a son, D.J., [1] who was born in 2008. On October 2, 2013, Jackson and Gipson entered into an agreement that granted custody of D.J. to Jackson subject to Gipson's rights of visitation. The agreement also included a provision for child support and a provision regarding payment of D.J.'s medical expenses. The medical-bill provision states the following:

In the event that public assistance is no longer available, [Gipson] shall secure similar and adequate health insurance for the aforesaid minor child. Further, the parties shall thereafter split equally (50/50) out[-]of[-]pocket expenses and co-pays of any and all medical, dental, mental hospital, optometric, orthodontic, deductibles, and drug bills (nonprescription drugs excepted) not otherwise covered by said insurance. . . . [Jackson] shall submit all such out[-]of[-]pocket expenses to [Gipson] in writing and [Gipson] shall pay outstanding expenses within 30 days.

         ¶3. In 2015, D.J. no longer qualified for Mississippi Medicaid. Jackson stated that she began paying for his medical expenses out of her own pocket and placed him on her insurance. Jackson informed Gipson that D.J. no longer qualified for Medicaid, and that it would be more cost effective for their son to be placed on Gipson's insurance. However, Gipson testified that he forgot about getting insurance coverage. Gipson also informed Jackson that he would not pay his half of the medical bills - even though Jackson provided Gipson with copies of the receipts and bills to review.

         ¶4. Jackson filed a complaint for contempt and modification of child support. Jackson, who was living with her boyfriend at the time, also requested that the chancery court modify the provision prohibiting overnight romantic guests while in D.J.'s presence if said guests were not related by blood or marriage. Gipson filed a counter-petition for contempt and modification. The chancery court found both Jackson and Gipson in contempt and ordered they both be incarcerated until they purged themselves of contempt.[2] Gipson appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. "This Court's scope of review in domestic-relations cases is limited." Wilson v.Stewart, 171 So.3d 522, 526 (ΒΆ8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (citation omitted). "We will not disturb a chancellor's judgment when supported by substantial evidence unless the chancellor abused his discretion, was manifestly ...


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