Chaffin v. Chaffin, No. 53837

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtPATTERSON
Citation437 So.2d 384
PartiesCora Lee CHAFFIN v. John R. CHAFFIN, Jr.
Docket NumberNo. 53837
Decision Date17 August 1983

Page 384

437 So.2d 384
Cora Lee CHAFFIN
v.
John R. CHAFFIN, Jr.
No. 53837.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Aug. 17, 1983.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 5, 1983.

Page 385

Harry L. Kelley, Jackson, for appellant.

Johnston, Adams & Younger, Michael P. Younger, Brandon, for appellee.

En banc.

PATTERSON, Chief Justice, for the Court:

John R. Chaffin, Jr., filed suit in the Chancery Court of Rankin County, seeking a divorce on the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. His wife Cora Lee Chaffin denied the cruelty in her answer and filed a cross-complaint for separate maintenance. The court granted Mr. Chaffin a divorce and awarded Mrs. Chaffin $250.00 per month child support, the custody of their younger son, and the use of the family home until the younger son should reach majority or become self-supporting or until Mrs. Chaffin should remarry or abandon the property for a period of time longer than one month.

Mrs. Chaffin appeals and assigns the following as error:

I. Did the trial court err in granting a decree in vacation without having previously taken the case under advisement for a ruling in vacation?

At the conclusion of the trial, which was near the end of the regular December 1981 term, appellant requested additional time to present argument to the court. The court granted the request but instructed appellant to prepare an order so that the case could be taken under advisement, as required by Mississippi Code Annotated, Sec. 93-5-17 (1972), for decree in vacation. Either through oversight or inadvertence appellant did not follow this instruction and the order was never entered. She now argues the nunc pro tunc decree entered in vacation did not cure the defect and is, by virtue of the absence of the order, null and void.

The court addressed this issue in Callicott v. Horn, 137 Miss. 693, 102 So. 850 (1925), "Power to sign decrees and try causes in vacation on the part of judges and chancellors must be derived from the statute, or by consent of the parties, and a decree entered in vacation not in conformity therewith or not so authorized is void." While this case reversed the chancellor's decree because there was no order on the minutes, the court implied that the decree would have been upheld had the record disclosed consent of the parties to take the decree in vacation. The record in the present case expressly reflects such an agreement. The chancellor directed appellant to put on an order; and while appellee initially requested a decree during term time, he did not object to the chancellor's instruction.

We are of the opinion the understanding to take the decree in vacation had the effect of retaining jurisdiction in the court until the decree nunc pro tunc was entered. Since the necessity for the decree nunc pro tunc was prompted by appellant's oversight, we think that stated in Green v. Myrick, 177 Miss. 778, 171 So. 774 (1937), is apropos, "[C]ourts may by nunc pro tunc orders supply omissions in the record of what had

Page 386

previously been done, and by mistake or neglect not entered."

We distinguish Lanham v. Lanham, 194 Miss. 872, 14 So.2d 215 (1943), on the point that the decree in that case was entered in vacation over appellant's objection. In the case at bar appellant not only failed to object, but her request for time helped create the necessity of the entry of the decree in vacation.

II. Did the trial court err in finding that the evidence supported appellee's ground for divorce?

This Court will not reverse a...

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17 practice notes
  • Muhammad v. Muhammad, No. 92-CA-470
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 5, 1993
    ...wrong." Nichols v. Tedder, 547 So.2d 766, 781 (Miss.1989); Dillon v. Dillon, 498 So.2d 328, 329 (Miss.1986); Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384, 386 (Miss.1983). Despite the standard's general demand for endangerment to one's health, this Court has held on numerous occasions that the harm co......
  • Dorman v. Dorman, No. 98-CA-00258-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • February 23, 1999
    ...the lower court was manifestly wrong as to law or fact. Benson v. Benson, 608 So.2d 709, 710 (Miss. 1992) (citing Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384 (Miss.1983)). But, the chancellor's failure to articulate sufficiently specific findings of fact and conclusions of law may in itself constitut......
  • Jones v. Jones, No. 57912
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 5, 1988
    ...So.2d 492, 495 (Miss.1987). Confronted with similar evidence of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, the Court in Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384 (Miss.1983), stated: "We take complainant's testimony at its best, as suggested in Burnett v. Burnett, 271 So.2d 90 (Miss.1972), and find that......
  • Chamblee v. Chamblee, No. 92-CA-01252
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 2, 1994
    ..."This Court will not reverse a chancellor's decree of divorce unless it is manifestly wrong as to law or fact." Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384, 386 (Miss.1983) citing Humber v. Humber, 109 Miss. 216, 68 So. 161 (1915); Dubois v. Dubois, 275 So.2d 100 According to Mississippi case law, ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Muhammad v. Muhammad, No. 92-CA-470
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 5, 1993
    ...wrong." Nichols v. Tedder, 547 So.2d 766, 781 (Miss.1989); Dillon v. Dillon, 498 So.2d 328, 329 (Miss.1986); Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384, 386 (Miss.1983). Despite the standard's general demand for endangerment to one's health, this Court has held on numerous occasions that the harm co......
  • Dorman v. Dorman, No. 98-CA-00258-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • February 23, 1999
    ...the lower court was manifestly wrong as to law or fact. Benson v. Benson, 608 So.2d 709, 710 (Miss. 1992) (citing Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384 (Miss.1983)). But, the chancellor's failure to articulate sufficiently specific findings of fact and conclusions of law may in itself constitut......
  • Jones v. Jones, No. 57912
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 5, 1988
    ...So.2d 492, 495 (Miss.1987). Confronted with similar evidence of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, the Court in Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384 (Miss.1983), stated: "We take complainant's testimony at its best, as suggested in Burnett v. Burnett, 271 So.2d 90 (Miss.1972), and find that......
  • Chamblee v. Chamblee, No. 92-CA-01252
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 2, 1994
    ..."This Court will not reverse a chancellor's decree of divorce unless it is manifestly wrong as to law or fact." Chaffin v. Chaffin, 437 So.2d 384, 386 (Miss.1983) citing Humber v. Humber, 109 Miss. 216, 68 So. 161 (1915); Dubois v. Dubois, 275 So.2d 100 According to Mississippi case law, ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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