Ligon v. Ligon, No. 98-CA-00190-COA.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBEFORE BRIDGES, C.J., COLEMAN, AND IRVING, JJ.
Citation743 So.2d 404
Decision Date04 May 1999
Docket NumberNo. 98-CA-00190-COA.
PartiesSherri Faye (Ruby) LIGON, Appellant, v. Robert Knox LIGON, Jr., Appellee.

743 So.2d 404

Sherri Faye (Ruby) LIGON, Appellant,
v.
Robert Knox LIGON, Jr., Appellee

No. 98-CA-00190-COA.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi.

May 4, 1999.


743 So.2d 405
John Thomas Lamar, Jr., Senatobia, Attorney for Appellant

H.R. Garner, Hernando, David Fitzgerald Linzey, Jackson, Attorneys for Appellee.

BEFORE BRIDGES, C.J., COLEMAN, AND IRVING, JJ.

BRIDGES, C.J., for the Court:

¶ 1. Sherri Faye Ruby Ligon (Sherri) appeals to this Court from a judgment of the Chancery Court of DeSoto County which denied the petition for change of custody filed by Robert Knox Ligon, Jr. (Robert) and the petition for citation for contempt filed by Sherri. Aggrieved by the chancellor's ruling, Sherri argues that the court erred (1) in finding the previous child support order to be an unenforceable escalation clause, (2) for failing to find appellee in contempt of court for failure to pay child support and for failing to award a judgment for past due support, (3) for failing to award attorney fees to appellant, and (4) by declaring the oldest child to be emancipated in April 1997 and ordering appellant to reimburse child support. Finding no error in the proceedings below, we affirm.

FACTS

¶ 2. Robert and Sherri were granted a divorce in the Chancery Court of DeSoto County, Mississippi on June 8, 1992. The court awarded Robert custody of their three minor children. On December 8, 1995, the court modified the divorce decree and awarded custody of the three minor children to their mother, Sherri. Robert was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $100 per month per child or twenty-five percent of his adjusted gross income, whichever is greater. After this modification, all child support was paid through an automatic withholding order, which was adjusted by the Mississippi Department for Human Services for DeSoto County, Mississippi.

¶ 3. On July 15, 1997, Robert filed a petition for change of custody. Robert's basis for this petition was that a substantial and material change had occurred because the oldest child had become fully emancipated and the two minor children were not being sufficiently cared for. On August 14, 1997, Sherri filed a cross petition for contempt for failure to pay child support on twenty-five percent of his adjusted gross income and attorney's fees.1 The chancery court determined that there was no material change in circumstances that adversely affected the children and therefore denied the request for change of custody. Additionally, the court found

743 So.2d 406
that the oldest child was clearly emancipated after April 1997, and Robert was entitled to a reimbursement equal to one-third of each and every monthly child support payment from the months of May through October 1997. The chancery court also determined that the provision in the child support order calling for "25 percent of his adjusted gross income, whichever is greater," is an unenforceable escalation clause. The court denied the request for a finding of contempt and the request for attorney fees. Feeling aggrieved, Sherri has filed this appeal
ARGUMENT AND DISCUSSION OF LAW
I. WHETHER THE CHANCELLOR WAS MANIFESTLY IN ERROR AND APPLIED AN ERRONEOUS LEGAL STANDARD IN FINDING THE COURT'S PREVIOUS ORDER FOR CHILD SUPPORT TO BE AN UNENFORCEABLE ESCALATION CLAUSE
II. WHETHER THE CHANCELLOR WAS MANIFESTLY IN ERROR FOR FAILING TO FIND APPELLEE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR FAILURE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT AS ORDERED AND IN FAILING TO AWARD APPELLANT A JUDGMENT FOR PAST DUE SUPPORT
III. WHETHER THE CHANCELLOR WAS MANIFESTLY IN ERROR IN FAILING TO AWARD ATTORNEY FEES TO APPELLANT

¶ 4. Since these issues deal directly with the chancellor's findings about the escalation clause, we will discuss them together. Sherri appeals arguing that the 1995 court order for child support was an enforceable escalation clause. Specifically, Sherri argues that because Robert failed to pay the sum of twenty-five percent of his adjusted grossly income as outlined in the escalation clause, he should be held in contempt of court for failure to pay child support. Additionally, Sherri argues that if Robert is found to be in contempt of the court order, she is entitled to attorney fees. Robert contends that the court correctly held the escalation clause to be unenforceable, and he argues that he should not be held in contempt or be required to pay Sherri's attorney fees.

¶ 5. Our scope of review in domestic relations matters is limited. The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that, on appellate review, a chancellor's findings of fact will not be disturbed if substantial evidence supports those factual findings Brooks v. Brooks, 652 So.2d 1113, 1124 (Miss.1995). In a domestic relations context, this Court will not disturb the findings of a chancellor unless the chancellor was manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous, or if an erroneous legal standard was applied. Setser v. Piazza, 644 So.2d 1211, 1215 (Miss.1994). This Court is required to respect a chancellor's findings of fact that are supported by credible evidence particularly in the areas of divorce and child support. Steen v. Steen, 641 So.2d 1167, 1169 (Miss.1994). Where evidence conflicts, the Mississippi Supreme Court typically defers to the chancellor as fact finder. Morrow v. Morrow, 591 So.2d 829, 832...

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11 practice notes
  • Broome v. Broome, No. 2010–CA–00300–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 13 Diciembre 2011
    ...payments made after a child becomes emancipated.” Andres v. Andres, 22 So.3d 314, 319 (¶ 19) (Miss.Ct.App.2009). In Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404, 405, 408 (¶¶ 2, 13) (Miss.Ct.App.1999), we held the chancellor properly ordered a custodial mother to reimburse the payor/father for one-third o......
  • Caplinger v. Caplinger, No. 2011–CA–01278–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 12 Febrero 2013
    ...amount is payable per child, then support terminates as to a child upon emancipation of that child. See [108 So.3d 998]Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404, 408 (¶ 11) (Miss.Ct.App.1999). In Ligon, we found that a mother was properly ordered to reimburse a father for payments he made after one chi......
  • McCracking v. Champaigne, No. 2000-CA-01030-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 23 Octubre 2001
    ...court, and this Court will not reverse where the chancellor's findings are supported by substantial credible evidence. Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404(¶ 5) (Miss. 805 So.2d 590 II. Whether the lower court abused its discretion by taking all of McCracking's visitation rights with his eldest da......
  • Kalman v. Kalman, No. 2003-CA-01024-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 30 Noviembre 2004
    ...court, and this Court will not reverse where the chancellor's findings are supported by substantial credible evidence. Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404(¶ 5) (Miss. I. DID THE CHANCELLOR ERR IN DETERMINING THAT THE LOTTERY PROCEEDS WERE NOT MARITAL PROPERTY? II. DID THE CHANCELLOR ERR IN ITS DE......
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11 cases
  • Broome v. Broome, No. 2010–CA–00300–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 13 Diciembre 2011
    ...payments made after a child becomes emancipated.” Andres v. Andres, 22 So.3d 314, 319 (¶ 19) (Miss.Ct.App.2009). In Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404, 405, 408 (¶¶ 2, 13) (Miss.Ct.App.1999), we held the chancellor properly ordered a custodial mother to reimburse the payor/father for one-third o......
  • Caplinger v. Caplinger, No. 2011–CA–01278–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 12 Febrero 2013
    ...amount is payable per child, then support terminates as to a child upon emancipation of that child. See [108 So.3d 998]Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404, 408 (¶ 11) (Miss.Ct.App.1999). In Ligon, we found that a mother was properly ordered to reimburse a father for payments he made after one chi......
  • McCracking v. Champaigne, No. 2000-CA-01030-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 23 Octubre 2001
    ...court, and this Court will not reverse where the chancellor's findings are supported by substantial credible evidence. Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404(¶ 5) (Miss. 805 So.2d 590 II. Whether the lower court abused its discretion by taking all of McCracking's visitation rights with his eldest da......
  • Kalman v. Kalman, No. 2003-CA-01024-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • 30 Noviembre 2004
    ...court, and this Court will not reverse where the chancellor's findings are supported by substantial credible evidence. Ligon v. Ligon, 743 So.2d 404(¶ 5) (Miss. I. DID THE CHANCELLOR ERR IN DETERMINING THAT THE LOTTERY PROCEEDS WERE NOT MARITAL PROPERTY? II. DID THE CHANCELLOR ERR IN ITS DE......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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