OF JUDGMENT: 05/14/2018
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. HAYDN JUDD ROBERTS TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: M. JUDITH BARNETT
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: KATRINA M. BIBB GIBBS
BARNES, C.J., McDONALD AND C. WILSON, JJ.
Lacey Perkins sued Marshall Herrin for contempt for his
failure to pay daycare expenses for his minor child, K.W.H.,
a court-ordered attorney's fee. In his answer, Herrin
sought a modification of the original order. After a hearing,
the Rankin County Chancery Court found Herrin in contempt of
court and granted a temporary modification of Herrin's
child-support obligations. Herrin appeals the chancery
court's order. We find no error and affirm. Further, we
deny Perkins's request for appellate attorney's fees
without prejudice to her ability to file the appropriate
motion before the mandate issues in this case, according to
the recent supreme court case of Latham v. Latham,
261 So.3d 1110, 1115 (¶23) (Miss. 2019), and Mississippi
Rule of Appellate Procedure 27(a).
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Perkins and Herrin are the parents of one child, K.W.H., who
was born in April 2015. After genetic testing, Perkins sued
Herrin for paternity and other relief on September 23, 2015.
On July 8, 2016, the chancery court entered an agreed
temporary judgment ordering Herrin to pay Perkins $250 per
month for child support and $100 per month for daycare costs.
On October 28, 2016, Perkins filed a "Petition for
Citation for Contempt" against Herrin for failing to pay
child support from July 1, 2016 through the date of the
filing. Perkins asked for the arrearage of $1, 000 plus
interest and payment of her attorney's fee. There was no
hearing on this petition.
On December 9, 2016, the parties reached an agreement that
was incorporated into an agreed final judgment. At that time,
Perkins was living with her parents, K.W.H., and her other
child. Herrin lived with a roommate and was working at two
different places of employment-one as an emergency medical
services technician with Pafford Emergency Medical Services
and another with the "Madison Fire Department."
Herrin was also paying child support for another child.
According to the agreed final judgment, Perkins was granted
physical custody; the parties shared legal custody; and
Herrin was given specific visitation rights. Herrin was
ordered to pay $300 per month in child support and $50 per
month on a back child-support arrearage of $3, 600. He also
had to provide health insurance for the minor child, and the
parties agreed to divide the cost of daycare equally. Herrin
also agreed to pay Perkins's attorney's fees of $1,
500 at the rate of $125 per month. Both parties and their
attorneys signed the order that the court entered.
That same month, the Department of Human Services notified
Herrin that the future child support would be paid through
payroll deductions. Herrin would continue to pay the other
money owed to Perkins (other than future support) directly.
In May 2017, Herrin's nine-year-old son from a prior
relationship came to live with him. But apparently Herrin
took no steps to modify his child-support obligation for that
child and continued to pay it. After the child moved in,
Herrin decided to go to paramedic school and leave his
fire-department job. Herrin's reduced income led to his
delinquent payments to Perkins.
In September 2017, Perkins filed a petition for contempt,
alleging that Herrin was in arrears for unpaid child support
and on the attorney's fees payment. The petition included
specific amounts and dates from which they were owed. A total
amount of $1, 695 was demanded.
Herrin was served with a summons and a copy of the petition
and filed an answer and counterclaim for modification in
January 2018. He made no demand for more specific pleading of
the arrearages owed and admitted that he was behind on the
attorney's fees payments. In support of the counterclaim,
Herrin stated that his other child was now living with him
for whom he received no support. Herrin said ...