Smith v. Smith

Decision Date11 November 1981
Docket NumberNo. 53018,53018
PartiesJudy SMITH v. Melvin Roger SMITH.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Edwards, Storey & Helveston, James C. Helveston, West Point, for appellant.

James D. Waide, West Point, for appellee.

Before SMITH, P. J., and WALKER and BOWLING, JJ.

BOWLING, Justice, for the Court:

Appellant and appellee were divorced on September 26, 1975. At the time the parties had two minor children. Appellee in the decree was required to pay $150 per month toward the support of each child. He further was directed to pay "major medical expenses for the children that exceeded $50 per month." For some strange reason a copy of the divorce decree does not appear in the record before us or any of the briefs. The allegation about the major medical expense requirement is merely set out in the petition that is the subject of this appeal.

On February 16, 1981, appellant filed her petition requesting the Chancery Court of Clay County to cite appellee for contempt for refusing to pay an orthodontic treatment bill in the sum of $1,885. This was for orthodontic treatment to Kim Smith, daughter of the parties. Her age is not mentioned in the record or other instruments now before us. The statement from the orthodontist requires that initial payment of $685 be paid on June 19, 1980, and a payment of $50 each month thereafter for twenty-four months through July 4, 1982.

Appellee filed a special demurrer to the petition contending that the original decree does not require defendant to pay dental expenses, and therefore the petition does not set out a cause of action. Other grounds were set out in the demurrer. The demurrer was sustained by the chancellor for the reason that the dental bill was not major medical expenses. Appellant contends that the above quoted part of the divorce decree contemplated that the expense in question be paid by appellee as "major medical expenses."

We, therefore, are faced with the question as to whether or not dental expenses in the form of orthodontic procedures on the daughter of the parties come within the definition of "major medical expenses" as that term relates to a provision in a divorce decree regarding future support of the minor children of the parties. Neither appellant nor appellee in their rather brief briefs cite specific authorities on the question before us, and our research does not reveal that this Court has passed specifically on the question in this appeal.

Bearing in mind continually as heretofore stated, we are dealing with medical and/or dental treatment of a young female child, who is entitled to receive complete medical attention from her parent or parents. We first note the definition of the practice of dentistry as defined in Section 73-9-3, Mississippi Code Annotated, (1972), as follows:

... treating any of the diseases or disorders of lesions of the oral cavity, teeth, gingivae or maxiliary bones or who shall extract teeth, repair or fill cavities of human teeth, correct mouth position or irregularities of the teeth and jaws, practice surgery of the head or neck incident to the practice of oral surgery or construct or repair or mend artificial teeth, crowns or bridges or who shall administer anesthetics or use x-ray in the connection with the practice of dentistry....

In 59 Am.Jur.2d, Parent and Child, § 87, p. 184...

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7 cases
  • Clements v. Young, 55153
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 20 Noviembre 1985
    ...does not command that Jimmy Clements pay all dental expenses, only "reasonable and necessary" dental expenses. In Smith v. Smith, 405 So.2d 896, 898 (Miss.1981), we faced an aspect of this problem and held that reasonable and necessary orthodontic care is that was reasonably necessary for .......
  • Broome v. Broome, No. 2001-CA-01014-COA.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • 17 Diciembre 2002
    ...September 22, 1999 judgment. The court also noted that Shaun's expenses were medically necessary rather than cosmetic. See Smith v. Smith, 405 So.2d 896 (Miss.1981). The chancellor took note of the fact that Cindy was unemployed at the time of the hearing. Therefore, the chancellor required......
  • McLain v. West Side Bone and Joint Center, 91-CA-00503-SCT
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 1 Junio 1995
    ...fact which must be resolved before the non-custodial divorced parent can be assessed with the costs of medical care. Smith v. Smith, 405 So.2d 896, 898 (Miss.1981). In Clements, we further defined the proof necessary to establish whether certain medical expenses were "reasonable and necessa......
  • Adams v. Adams, 55404
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 13 Marzo 1985
    ...was presented as to whether this work was reasonably necessary for her health and well-being or only cosmetic treatment. Smith v. Smith, 405 So.2d 896 (Miss.1981). The record also shows that the father was receiving cost-of-living increases in his veteran The unanswered question of this rec......
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