Beacham v. Beacham, s. 51940

Decision Date30 April 1980
Docket Number51818,Nos. 51940,s. 51940
Citation383 So.2d 146
PartiesL. L. BEACHAM, Jr. v. Mrs. Edith Russell BEACHAM.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Thomas J. Lowe, Jr., Joseph A. Gentile, Jackson, for appellant.

L. L. Beacham, Jr., pro se.

King & Spencer, Robert W. King, Jackson, for appellee.

Before SMITH, P. J., and BROOM and COFER, JJ.

SMITH, Presiding Justice, for the Court.

On February 14, 1967, L. L. Beacham, Jr., appellant, obtained a divorce from appellee, Edith Russell Beacham upon the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. It was judicially established by the decree that it had been the misconduct of Edith Russell Beacham that was the ground for the divorce, and that L. L. Beacham, Jr. was the aggrieved party. The minor children born of the marriage, who were living with their mother at the time, were allowed to remain with her under the decree. For the support of the children Beacham was directed to pay $200.00 each a month and, in addition, he was directed to pay to their mother $425.00 per month as alimony. Beacham has made the payments required of him for the support of the children who have now reached majority. And, although not all payments have been made on time, he has also paid $425.00 per month to Mrs. Beacham as ordered in the original divorce decree, with the possible exception of some interest on delayed installments.

The situation with regard to these alimony payments has continued unchanged since the original divorce decree in February, 1967, a period of some thirteen years, although Beacham has tried, unsuccessfully, to have the decree modified to reduce or discontinue them.

The present appeal by Beacham is from decrees of the Chancery Court of Hinds County dated June 6, and July 11, 1979, (the cases have been consolidated) rejecting Beacham's requests for modification of the former decree so as to permit him to discontinue payments to Mrs. Beacham and holding him in contempt for failures or delays with respect thereto.

The payments for support of the children were made by Beacham as required, the children had reached their majority before the hearings which resulted in the decrees appealed from were entered, and the children are no longer dependent upon their mother for supervision or parental care.

Leaving aside the several collateral matters which are raised or sought to be raised on the appeals in these cases, there is very little dispute about the substantial or significant facts relating to the circumstances of the parties.

At the time of the divorce, the house and all of its furnishings had become the property of Mrs. Beacham. It is perfectly clear that she is a single woman, in good health, with no dependents and with an income of some $18,000.00 a year, exclusive of any payment of alimony by Mr. Beacham. Mrs. Beacham cannot be characterized as being in any sense a needy person.

At the time of the decrees appealed from, in addition to her substantial income, she had in prospect retirement pay and social security. At the time the divorce decree was entered in 1967, when custody and supervision of the children was left with Mrs. Beacham, apparently so as not to disturb their existing circumstances, it cannot be said at this date that it was unreasonable for the court, in allowing them to remain with their mother, and directing Beacham to make payments for their support, also to award to Mrs. Beacham a sum as alimony in connection with her duties in supervising and looking after the children. It was a matter which can reasonably be considered to have been in the mutual best interest of the parties as well as of the children.

Now that this duty (looking after the children) no longer rests upon Mrs. Beacham and the circumstances are such as no longer to require contributions to Mrs. Beacham from Mr. Beacham upon the basis of any need or otherwise, he should not be required to continue them. Beacham was the innocent party in the divorce and the divorce decree so adjudicated. The destruction of the marriage was the result of misconduct on the part of Mrs. Beacham. Mrs. Beacham no longer has the responsibility of the minor children. She cannot be said to be in any sense needy, in poor health, or unable to lead an independent life with ample means of support without further payment to her of alimony by Beacham. In such circumstances, requiring Beacham to continue to pay alimony to her should cease.

The policy in Mississippi regarding the award of alimony in such a case has long been established. This Court held in Coffee v. Coffee, 145 Miss. 872, 111 So. 377 (1927), that alimony will...

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16 cases
  • Retzer v. Retzer
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • December 12, 1990 a general rule that alimony will not be allowed a wife when the husband is granted a divorce because of her fault. Beacham v. Beacham, 383 So.2d 146, 147 (Miss.1980); Russell v. Russell, 241 So.2d 366, 367 The rule is a sound one and is based on the proposition that a husband is entitled......
  • Wood v. Wood
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 1, 1986
    ...alimony should not be awarded to the wife when the divorce is granted by reason of the wrongful conduct of the wife. Beacham v. Beacham, 383 So.2d 146, 147 (Miss.1980); Russell v. Russell, 241 So.2d 366, 367 (Miss.1970). We have a long line of cases, however, recognizing that, where the par......
  • Smith v. Smith
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • February 18, 1993
    ...a wife when the husband is granted a divorce because of her fault. Retzer v. Retzer, 578 So.2d 580, 592 (Miss.1990); Beacham v. Beacham, 383 So.2d 146, 147 (Miss.1980); Russell v. Russell, 241 So.2d 366, 367 The rule is a sound one and is based on the proposition that a husband is entitled ......
  • D'Avignon v. D'Avignon
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • August 1, 2006
    ...chancellor erred in not reducing or terminating his alimony obligations. ¶ 17. In support of his argument, Louis cites Beacham v. Beacham, 383 So.2d 146 (Miss.1980), contending that it is factually similar to the case at bar. He quotes the following language from Beacham: "[a]limony is not ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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