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Herrin v. Perkins

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 13, 2019

MARSHALL WILLIAM HERRIN APPELLANT
v.
LACEY NICOLE PERKINS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF K.W.H. APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/14/2018

          RANKIN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. HAYDN JUDD ROBERTS TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: M. JUDITH BARNETT

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: KATRINA M. BIBB GIBBS

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., McDONALD AND C. WILSON, JJ.

          McDONALD, J.

         ¶1. Lacey Perkins sued Marshall Herrin for contempt for his failure to pay daycare expenses for his minor child, K.W.H., [1] and 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).

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. 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.

         ¶3. 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.

         ¶4. 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.

         ¶5. 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.

         ¶6. 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.

         ¶7. 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 ...


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