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Nelson v. Nelson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 20, 2018

MARSHA P. NELSON APPELLANT
v.
JAMES A. NELSON APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/22/2016

          HARRISON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. SANFORD R. STECKLER TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: SHANNON MICHELLE JONES ASHLEY D. JONES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: NITA LOUISE CHASE

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

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Marsha P. Nelson appeals the November 22, 2016 judgment and the December 9, 2016 "qualifying court order"[1] of the Chancery Court of Harrison County. Finding no error in the chancery court's ruling after a review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. James A. Nelson and Marsha married on August 4, 1991. During their marriage, they had two daughters-Jasha and Jada.[2] Around November 2008, the parties separated, and on April 6, 2010, their divorce was granted on the ground of irreconcilable differences. The court also approved a property settlement agreement for both James and Marsha. Less than a year later, the parties began filing motions, petitions, and complaints against each other for various reasons due to monetary issues arising from the property settlement agreement.

         ¶3. On February 25, 2011, Marsha filed a motion for modification or clarification of judgment of the divorce and property settlement agreement. Marsha alleged that she filed her motion because James refused to cooperate in establishing the correct percentage of the retirement funds that she was to receive. After various attempts to obtain service on James, Marsha succeeded in obtaining a Rule 81[3] summons on him in August 2011. This motion is what seemingly triggered the litigation battle between James and Marsha that lasted from 2011 through 2016.

         ¶4. On November 4, 2011, James responded with an answer and affirmative defenses. He also filed a counterclaim alleging that Marsha had failed and refused to comply with the court's April 6, 2010 judgment. James averred that Marsha should be held in willful, wanton, and contumacious contempt for her refusal to provide him with one of the Lladros figurines and a stereo stand; failure to pay any of the expenses associated with the parties' business; failure to return the approximate sum of four thousand dollars ($4, 000) from the business account she used for her own personal use; failure to disclose the status of the parties' joint 2009 federal and state tax refund; failure to pay the outstanding 2009 tax liability, plus penalties, if any; failure to equally share any tax refund for 2009, plus interest; and failure to compensate him two thousand five hundred fifty dollars ($2, 550) representing his equity in the sale of one of their rental homes, as well as one-half (1/2) of the amount he would have received if the Martin Luther King Blvd. property were sold at the time of an offer.

         ¶5. In an attempt to resolve the issues filed by the parties, several conferences and hearings were held in November 2011, August 2012, November 2012, March 2013, August 2013, November 2013, April 2014, April 2015, and September 2016. During these proceedings, several of the issues from both parties were resolved-including what percentage of James's retirement was to be paid to Marsha. A bifurcated trial was held to adjudicate the remaining unresolved issues-the first part in December 2014 and the second part in October 2015.

         ¶6. On November 22, 2016, the chancery court entered a judgment of modification and contempt.[4] The following applicable excerpts are from the chancellor's findings:

During the trial, Marsha withdrew $5, 150 from the business account for personal use. Because of the withdrawals, James was awarded $2, 575-half of the money Marsha withdrew. James also paid a total of $12, 150.86 in expenses for Nelson's Philly Cheese Steak, and the chancellor ordered Marsha to pay $6, 075.43 for her half of those expenses. The chancellor ordered that both Thrift Savings Plans should be equally split. As a result, James was awarded $13, 073.54. James ...

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