Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hall v. Hall

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 19, 2019

GARY L. HALL APPELLANT
v.
CAROLYN J. HALL APPELLEE

         DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/14/2017

          LEE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JOHN ANDREW HATCHER, JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ANGELA SHEREE BROOKS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: CHRISTOPHER G. EVANS

          BEFORE CARLTON, P.J., TINDELL AND McDONALD, JJ.

          MCDONALD, J.,

         ¶1. Gary L. Hall appeals the August 14, 2017 judgment of the Chancery Court of Lee County dismissing his petition for modification and other relief. Finding no error in the chancery court's ruling after a review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Carolyn J. Hall and Gary were married on December 21, 1995, in Hamilton, Alabama. There were no children born to this marriage; however, both parties have children from their previous marriages.

         ¶3. On December 20, 2004, Carolyn filed for divorce against Gary in the Chancery Court of Lee County, Mississippi, on the grounds of adultery and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment or, alternatively, irreconcilable differences.

         ¶4. On January 20, 2005, Gary filed his answer and counterclaim for divorce based upon habitual cruel and inhuman treatment or, alternatively, irreconcilable differences.

         ¶5. On May 16, 2006, the chancery court issued a memorandum opinion, which granted Carolyn a divorce on the ground of adultery, awarded her $1, 500 per month for periodic alimony, and divided the parties' marital property. The marital property included Gary's 401(k) plan, Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and Standex pension-plan. The court ruled that Carolyn was entitled to a lump-sum payment of $23, 976.23 from Gary's 401(k) plan, a lump-sum payment of $2, 976.13 from Gary's Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and $600 per month of Gary's Standex pension-plan if he retired at the normal age. At the time of the marriage in 1995, Gary's pension-plan benefit was projected to be $4, 208 per month if he retired at the normal age. In December 2004, when Carolyn filed for divorce, Gary's pension-plan benefit was projected to be $5, 212 per month if he retired at the normal age. The record reflects that the $600 per month payment to Carolyn was based on the increase in Gary's projected retirement income over the parties' ten-year marriage.

         ¶6. In accordance with the memorandum opinion referenced above, the judgment was entered on June 23, 2006. Neither party appealed. On August 20, 2007, the parties agreed to a "Qualified Domestic Relations Order," which included the above-mentioned award of payment to Carolyn from Gary's retirement plan.

         ¶7. As of December 31, 2007, Standex International Corporation, the parent company of Masterbilt, Gary's employer, froze his pension benefits.[1] Although Gary had notice of this change, he did not attempt to modify the $600 award to Carolyn. Several years later, in November 2016, Gary accepted an early retirement offer from Masterbilt causing him to retire at the age of 62 instead of the normal retirement age of 65 as stated in his retirement plan. Even though Gary retired, he did not draw on the retirement funds.

         ¶8. On February 23, 2017, Gary filed a petition for modification of a prior judgment and other relief. Gary contended that since the filing of the May 16, 2006 memorandum opinion and judgment and the post-trial motions filed by both parties, there had been a substantial and material change in circumstances. Gary argued that because his employer "froze" his pension-plan as of December 31, 2007, his projected monthly retirement amount decreased and was not the figure projected in 2006. Gary further asserted that a total elimination of any payment of his retirement benefits to Carolyn was necessary and proper.

         ¶9. Carolyn filed her answer on May 3, 2017, asserting that Gary's claim was barred by doctrines of laches, judicial estoppel, and res judicata. Carolyn argued that Gary slept on his rights; therefore, the doctrine of laches applies and "[f]inality should be finality."

         ¶10. A hearing on the merits was held on August 2, 2017, and the chancery court dismissed Gary's petition for modification by sustaining Carolyn's motion to dismiss. The judgment was entered on August 14, 2017, and Gary timely appealed.

         ¶11. Gary asserts that the chancery court erred in dismissing his petition for modification.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶12. Our scope of review in domestic relations matters is limited. In re Dissolution of Marriage of De St. Germain, 977 So.2d 412, 415 (¶7) (Miss. Ct. App. 2008). A court's factual findings will not be disturbed unless the court was "manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous or an erroneous legal standard was applied." Id. Furthermore, "[f]or questions of law, our standard of review ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.