CHARLES D. EASTERLING APPELLANT
LAJUANA EASTERLING APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 08/08/2016
FROM WHICH APPEALED: PERRY COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. SUSAN
RHEA SHELDON, JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PHILLIP LLOYD LONDEREE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: S. CHRISTOPHER FARRIS
GRIFFIS, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND TINDELL, JJ.
This case considers the chancellor's denial of a motion
to reconsider a judgment that granted a modification of
alimony payments. Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Charles D. Easterling and Lajuana Easterling had been married
for thirty-seven years when they were divorced on January 23,
2013. They entered into a property-settlement agreement that
stipulated the terms of their divorce. Among the terms,
Charles was required to pay monthly periodic alimony in the
amount of $2, 500 to Lajuana; Lajuana retained possession of
the marital home; and Charles was obligated to pay the
monthly note on the home.
Prior to and at the time of the divorce, Charles worked as a
tool pusher for Ensco, an off-shore oil-drilling contractor.
After the divorce, Charles remarried, and he now has an
adopted daughter and two stepchildren who reside in his home.
However, Charles testified that due to circumstances in the
oil industry beyond his control, he was terminated from Ensco
in 2015. Charles testified that he was without a regular
income. He said that he had attempted to find other
employment in the oil industry, but to no avail. He further
testified that he picked up odd jobs when available.
On August 13, 2015, Charles filed a complaint for
modification of his alimony obligation. A hearing was held
with both Charles and Lajuana in attendance on December 2,
2015. There was no record or written order of the
proceedings. But each party agreed that the court temporarily
reduced Charles's alimony obligation to $600 per month.
From that date until the final judgment, Charles paid the
reduced amount of alimony and ceased monthly payments on the
home-equity line of credit, which forced Lajuana to begin
paying the interest on the mortgage.
A trial was held on May 10, 2016. The chancellor found that
Charles's termination from Ensco was an unanticipated,
unforeseen loss of employment beyond his control that
resulted in a substantial material change in circumstances.
Therefore, the chancellor then analyzed the
Armstrong factors and granted Charles a permanent
reduction of his alimony payments to $1, 500 per month.
Charles then filed a motion to reconsider and asked the
chancellor to completely eliminate his alimony obligation.