Stone v. Stone, No. 51810

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtSUGG; PATTERSON
Citation385 So.2d 610
Docket NumberNo. 51810
Decision Date04 June 1980
PartiesErnest W. STONE, III, Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Mary Doris Stone 1 v. Ernest W. STONE.

Page 610

385 So.2d 610
Ernest W. STONE, III, Executor of the Last Will and
Testament of Mary Doris Stone 1
v.
Ernest W. STONE.
No. 51810.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
June 4, 1980.
Rehearing Denied July 23, 1980.

Robertshaw & Merideth, H. L. Merideth, Jr., Greenville, for appellant.

Mansour & Thomas, Stephen L. Thomas, Greenville, for appellee.

Before PATTERSON, SUGG and WALKER, JJ.

SUGG, Justice, for the Court:

Mary Doris Stone (wife), filed suit in the Circuit Court of Washington County against Ernest W. Stone (husband) to recover the fair rental value of land owned jointly by the parties but farmed exclusively by the husband from 1969 to 1979. The husband asserted as an affirmative defense that he was entitled to farm the land free of any rent under the provisions of a separation agreement entered into between the parties in 1965.

The trial judge sustained a motion for directed verdict at the conclusion of the wife's case. The principal issue is whether the husband was entitled to use the land rent free under the 1965 separation agreement.

The parties were married in 1936 and lived together as husband and wife until 1965 at which time they separated. During their marriage, the parties acquired 633 acres of land in Washington County. The husband was engaged in farming operations on the land with the wife devoting her time

Page 611

and interests to making a home for the parties and their four children. Title to 433 acres of land was in the husband and title to 200 acres of land was in both parties.

The wife filed a bill for separate maintenance in 1965 and a separation agreement was signed by the parties with the approval of their respective attorneys on December 3, 1965. Under the terms of the agreement, the husband agreed to convey to the wife an undivided one-half interest in the 433 acres owned by him. He was to have the use of the land for agricultural purposes without charge or rental except he agreed to maintain the property, timely pay all debts secured by a lien on the property, and to pay all taxes. The agreement also provided that the covenant with reference to the 433 acres should apply to 200 acres of land jointly owned by the parties. The wife was granted exclusive possession, use and occupancy of the residence, including a reasonable curtilage thereto, which had been occupied by the parties before the separation and was occupied by the wife at the time the agreement was signed. The husband also agreed to convey a Lincoln automobile then owned by him to his wife, to pay all indebtedness owing on the automobile, to assign to the wife all his interest in two life insurance policies with the exception that the husband's mother would remain a joint beneficiary in one policy, and the husband was to pay all premiums due on the policies.

The separation agreement provided for the support of the wife by the husband as follows: the husband was to pay the wife $500 monthly for her support, pay all medical expenses incurred by the wife, pay the cost of all utilities, except telephone expense, for the home occupied by the wife, to give the wife exclusive use and possession of all items of household goods and personal property located in the residence house, except personal items belonging to the husband, to keep the residence and household goods insured, to purchase and give to the wife a new automobile of her choice costing no more than $4500, exclusive of taxes, every three years beginning with the 1967 year model, reserving the right to the husband to sell or trade the automobile then owned by the wife on such new automobile, to pay all taxes on the automobiles and to maintain them except the wife was to furnish gasoline, oil and routine maintenance costing less than $100 at any given time, and to maintain liability, collision, comprehensive, property damage and medical insurance on such automobiles.

The separation agreement also contained provisions for payment of debts then due and for the support of two minor children and attorney's fees. The agreement also provided that it could be incorporated in whole or in part in any temporary order or final decree rendered in the suit for separate maintenance then pending between the parties.

The husband delivered a quitclaim deed and bill of sale on December 3, 1965, by which he conveyed to his wife an undivided one-half interest in the 433 acres of land and the Lincoln automobile mentioned in the agreement. The chancery court of Washington County entered an interlocutory order on December 3, 1965, and incorporated the separation agreement in the order. A final decree in the separate maintenance suit was entered April 1, 1966 expressly incorporating the agreement in the decree by reference.

Mrs. Stone filed a bill for divorce against her husband in March, 1969, and prayed that the separation agreement be incorporated in any decree of divorce. She also alleged that, since the date of the separation agreement, the earnings and ability of her husband to support her had materially increased, her cost of living had materially increased, and requested that the support provided for her in paragraph seven of the agreement should be increased as alimony in...

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16 practice notes
  • East v. East, No. 55514
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 13, 1986
    ...it continue beyond the remarriage of the wife or the death of the husband. Taylor v. Taylor, 392 So.2d 1145 (Miss.1981); Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610 (Miss.1980); McKee v. McKee, 382 So.2d 287 (Miss.1980); Hughes v. Hughes, 221 Miss. 264, 72 So.2d 677 (1954). 2 On the other hand we have hi......
  • Barton v. Barton, No. 1999-IA-01846-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 19, 2001
    ...are contractual in nature and are not subject to modification or contingent upon a final divorce decree. This Court, in Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610 (Miss.1980), The property settlement entered into between the parties was not made subject to the approval of the chancery court; therefore, ......
  • Mount v. Mount, No. 91-CA-1028
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • September 30, 1993
    ...557 So.2d at 795; Holleman, 527 So.2d at 92; Maxcy, 485 So.2d at 1078; Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1345 (Miss.1981); Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610, 614 (Miss.1980); Bunkley and Morse's Divorce and Separation in Mississippi, Section This Court holds that the chancellor committed manifest e......
  • Smith v. Little, No. 2001-CA-00965-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • December 10, 2002
    ...a divorce decree, does not change its character." Wells v. Wells, 800 So.2d 1239, 1242 (¶ 5) (Miss.Ct.App.2001). In Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610, 612 (Miss. 1980), the court held that a property settlement agreement may have modifiable and nonmodifiable provisions. The court noted the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • East v. East, No. 55514
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 13, 1986
    ...it continue beyond the remarriage of the wife or the death of the husband. Taylor v. Taylor, 392 So.2d 1145 (Miss.1981); Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610 (Miss.1980); McKee v. McKee, 382 So.2d 287 (Miss.1980); Hughes v. Hughes, 221 Miss. 264, 72 So.2d 677 (1954). 2 On the other hand we have hi......
  • Barton v. Barton, No. 1999-IA-01846-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 19, 2001
    ...are contractual in nature and are not subject to modification or contingent upon a final divorce decree. This Court, in Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610 (Miss.1980), The property settlement entered into between the parties was not made subject to the approval of the chancery court; therefore, ......
  • Mount v. Mount, No. 91-CA-1028
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • September 30, 1993
    ...557 So.2d at 795; Holleman, 527 So.2d at 92; Maxcy, 485 So.2d at 1078; Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1345 (Miss.1981); Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610, 614 (Miss.1980); Bunkley and Morse's Divorce and Separation in Mississippi, Section This Court holds that the chancellor committed manifest e......
  • Smith v. Little, No. 2001-CA-00965-COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • December 10, 2002
    ...a divorce decree, does not change its character." Wells v. Wells, 800 So.2d 1239, 1242 (¶ 5) (Miss.Ct.App.2001). In Stone v. Stone, 385 So.2d 610, 612 (Miss. 1980), the court held that a property settlement agreement may have modifiable and nonmodifiable provisions. The court noted the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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