Banks v. Banks, No. 57083

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBefore WALKER; GRIFFIN; WALKER
Citation511 So.2d 933
PartiesFaye Harmon BANKS v. Frank R. BANKS, M.D.
Docket NumberNo. 57083
Decision Date19 August 1987

Page 933

511 So.2d 933
Faye Harmon BANKS
v.
Frank R. BANKS, M.D.
No. 57083.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Aug. 19, 1987.

Page 934

Harlon H. Varnado, Patricia R. Alexander, Jackson, for appellant.

Alvin M. Binder, Lisa B. Milner, Binder, Milner & Milner, Jackson, for appellee.

Before WALKER, C.J., and ANDERSON and GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, Justice, for the Court:

This case, concerning the modification of a divorce decree, comes to the Court from the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, which awarded a $250 per month increase in alimony, plus $1,604, representing half the cost of major repairs to a jointly owned home. We affirm.

On July 6, 1976, the chancery court granted a divorce to Faye Harmon Banks, providing her with $1,750 per month as alimony. On April 17, 1980, the chancery court denied Dr. Frank R. Banks' motion to abrogate the alimony payments, required by the decree.

On October 4, 1983, Faye Harmon Banks filed a motion, seeking to increase the monthly alimony. On October 23, 1985, the chancellor heard evidence on the motion, and at its conclusion stated, "I am inclined to think that Mrs. Banks is entitled to an increase in alimony of $500 a month, which would put it up to $2,250, which would reflect the diminution of the buying power of the $1,750 from 1980 on." Continuing, he said, "That will be the judgment of the Court, that the alimony be increased to $2,250 per month...."

On October 24, 1985, the chancellor, on his own motion, filed an amended opinion, awarding only an additional $250 per month in alimony. On November 13, 1985, the chancellor entered final judgment, again awarding $2,000 per month, a $250 per month increase. The chancellor also awarded $1,604 to Faye Harmon Banks, representing half the cost of repairs to her home.

I.

On appeal, Faye Harmon Banks contends that the chancellor erred when he modified the judgment voiced in open court at the hearing's conclusion, awarding her an additional $500 per month in alimony. In fact, she maintains that the chancellor was powerless to change or modify his oral judgment, absent a motion by either party.

Historically, this Court has recognized that "every decree is in the breast of the court until entered and a decree has no validity until written out and signed by the chancellor." Orr v. Myers, 223 Miss. 856, 862, 79 So.2d 277, 278 (1955). Similarly, V. Griffith, Mississippi Chancery Practice Sec. 621 (1950) states,

[I]n equity the decrees are of such an elaborate and flexible character that the drawing of them is not, as at law, a mere ministerial matter to be left to the clerk, but they must be drawn up in writing by the solicitors and signed by the chancellor before delivery to the clerk, and that a decree has no validity until so written out and signed. When, however, that has been done and the decree has been delivered to the clerk for entry it becomes effective as between the parties from that date ...

Though previously a circuit judge could render a binding oral judgment at a trial's conclusion, Dapsco, Inc. v. Walters, 243 Miss. 427, 440, 135 So.2d 850 (1961), Welch v. Kroger Grocery Co., 180 Miss. 89, 95, 177 So. 41, 42 (1937), the Court later made the rule uniform, finding that the "date of rendition of the judgment of the circuit court in term time, as well as in

Page 935

vacation, is the date when the judgment is signed by the judge and filed...

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17 practice notes
  • Favre v. Jourdan River Estates & Jourdan River Yacht Club, LLC, NO. 2013-CA-01177-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 29, 2013
    ...that a bench ruling is not "the same thing as the court's final judgment" and is "subject to modification") (citing Banks v. Banks, 511 So. 2d 933, 935 (Miss. 1987); Love v. Barnett, 611 So. 2d 205, 208 (Miss. 1992)).¶26. In its Final Judgment, the trial court addressed the bottleneck, writ......
  • Favre v. Jourdan River Estates, No. 2013–CA–01177–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a bench ruling is not “the same thing as the court's final judgment” and is “subject to modification”) (citing Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933, 935 (Miss.1987) ; Love v. Barnett, 611 So.2d 205, 208 (Miss.1992) ).¶ 26. In its Final Judgment, the trial court addressed the bottleneck, writi......
  • Branton v. Branton, No. 89-CA-0148
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 4, 1990
    ...(Supp.1989) A wife is due reasonable alimony, commensurate with her standard of living, and the husband's ability to pay. Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933, 936 (Miss.1987). A divorcing spouse who has assisted his wife or her husband in the accumulation of wealth during the marriage as reflecte......
  • Wing v. Wing, No. 07-CA-57972
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • September 20, 1989
    ...--------------- 1 There is no explanation for the two judgments and no challenge to the second judgment entered. See Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933 2 The calculation of the rate of inflation was determined by using the current year's Consumer Price Index and deducting last year's Consumer Pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Favre v. Jourdan River Estates, No. 2013–CA–01177–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a bench ruling is not “the same thing as the court's final judgment” and is “subject to modification”) (citing Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933, 935 (Miss.1987) ; Love v. Barnett, 611 So.2d 205, 208 (Miss.1992) ).¶ 26. In its Final Judgment, the trial court addressed the bottleneck, writi......
  • Favre v. Jourdan River Estates & Jourdan River Yacht Club, LLC, NO. 2013-CA-01177-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 29, 2013
    ...that a bench ruling is not "the same thing as the court's final judgment" and is "subject to modification") (citing Banks v. Banks, 511 So. 2d 933, 935 (Miss. 1987); Love v. Barnett, 611 So. 2d 205, 208 (Miss. 1992)).¶26. In its Final Judgment, the trial court addressed the bottleneck, writ......
  • Boatwright v. Boatwright, No. 2014–CA–00060–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • June 23, 2015
    ...added); [M.R.C.P.] 54(a) (" ‘Judgment’ as used in these rules includes any order from which an appeal lies."). See also Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933, 934 (Miss.1987). As such, we find that the trial judge did not "rule" on anything after he had recused himself from the case going forward.B......
  • Branton v. Branton, No. 89-CA-0148
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 4, 1990
    ...(Supp.1989) A wife is due reasonable alimony, commensurate with her standard of living, and the husband's ability to pay. Banks v. Banks, 511 So.2d 933, 936 (Miss.1987). A divorcing spouse who has assisted his wife or her husband in the accumulation of wealth during the marriage as reflecte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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