DAVID W. MARTIN APPELLANT
WENDY E. BORRIES APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/15/2017
JACKSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. MICHAEL H. WARD TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: WILLIAM CARL MILLER
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: CALVIN D. TAYLOR WENDY WALKER BORRIES
BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.
David Martin and Wendy Borries were divorced in the Jackson
County Chancery Court on August 3, 2007. Borries was granted
physical custody of the couple's two minor children, aged
6 and 11. Martin was ordered: (1) to pay child support of $1,
000 per month; (2) to pay for half of the costs for the minor
children's extracurricular or school activities; and (3)
to provide medical and dental insurance for the minor
children and half of any medical procedures not covered by
Borries filed a motion for contempt against Martin in March
2009, and the chancery court granted the motion, finding
Martin was $5, 000 in arrears for child support. Martin was
ordered to pay Borries the entire arrearage, and the parties
also agreed to modify the previous decree to require that
Martin pay an additional $300 for the children's
extracurricular activities. On January 15, 2013, Borries
filed a second contempt motion and a request for modification
of child support. Martin and Borries entered into an agreed
order of modification on February 28, 2014, with Martin to
pay $1, 700 in monthly child support and $300 a month for the
children's extracurricular activities-twenty percent of
his salary (capped at $100, 000). See Miss. Code Ann.
§ 43-19-101(1), (4) (Supp. 2013).
Martin's contract as a project-management consultant
ended on May 31, 2015, and while awaiting a new assignment,
he relocated his new wife and step-daughter from China to
Gautier, Mississippi, in July 2015. Due to global economic
conditions, however, Martin asserts that he was unable to
find a new assignment with a comparable salary; so he lived
off his savings and eventually took a job as an electrician
with Ingalls Shipbuilding, earning approximately $4, 200 a
On April 20, 2016, Martin filed a petition for modification
of child support. Borries filed a counter petition
requesting, among other things, that Martin pay one-half of
their eldest child's college expenses. A trial was held
on July 29, 2016, and December 1, 2016. Martin testified that
in 2014 and 2015, he earned on average approximately $200,
000 a year, but since returning from overseas, his income had
decreased because he could not find comparable work. Although
he admitted there were jobs available, he was reluctant to
move to any overseas location that might constitute a safety
risk to him. Borries testified that Martin had been planning
to quit working overseas and move back to Mississippi.
Finding that Martin's "decrease in salary [was] a
voluntarily reduction in income," the chancery court
denied Martin's petition for modification of child
support on June 7, 2017. The court ordered Martin to pay
one-half of the oldest child's college expenses with the
provision that while the child is away at college,
Martin's child-support obligation would be reduced to $1,
400 a month (including the $300 monthly extracurricular
expenses). Further, the chancery court found Martin in
contempt for his lateness in paying child support and his
failure to provide health insurance for the children.
Martin appeals the chancery court's denial of his
petition for modification of child support. Borries's
brief contains a "counter-appeal," challenging the
court's decision to reduce Martin's child-support
obligation during the months that their oldest child is at
college, and she requests attorney's fees on appeal.
Finding no error, we affirm the court's judgment. We deny
Borries's request for attorney's fees.
This Court conducts a limited review of a chancery
court's decision in a domestic- relations matter.
Howard v. Howard, 968 So.2d 961, 972 (¶23)
(Miss. Ct. App. 2007). A chancery court's findings will
not be disturbed on appeal when supported by substantial
evidence unless its determination was an abuse of its
discretion, manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous, or an
erroneous legal standard was applied. Sessums v.
Vance, 12 So.3d 1146, 1147 (¶3) (Miss. Ct. App.
2009) (citing Southerland ...