Wood v. Wood, No. 56464

CourtMississippi Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtROBERTSON; WALKER
Citation495 So.2d 503
PartiesMary J. WOOD v. Grafton M. WOOD.
Decision Date01 October 1986
Docket NumberNo. 56464

Page 503

495 So.2d 503
Mary J. WOOD
v.
Grafton M. WOOD.
No. 56464.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Oct. 1, 1986.

Page 504

Jimmy D. McGuire, Kelly C. Walker, Gulfport, for appellant.

Walter W. Teel, Sekul, Hornsby & Teel, Biloxi, for appellee.

Before HAWKINS, P.J., and ROBERTSON and GRIFFIN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, Justice, for the Court:

I.

This appeal arises from a final judgment of divorce ending the 36 year marriage of the parties. At issue today are, first, whether the evidence was legally sufficient to undergird a judgment of divorce predicated upon the wife's adultery and, second, whether a judgment that the husband pay $10,000.00 in lump sum alimony should be vacated as being unreasonably low. On both points, we hold that the Chancery Court acted within the discretion afforded it by law under the facts before it. We affirm.

Mary J. Wood and Grafton M. Wood were married on July 9, 1948, in Ft. Worth, Texas. Mary, who is the Appellant here and was the Defendant below, is presently 54 years of age. Grafton, the Plaintiff below and the Appellee here, is somewhat older, although his age does not appear in the record. Four children were born of this marriage only one of whom, David, now 15 years of age, is not an adult. No issue is raised on this appeal regarding the custody or support of David.

On March 15, 1982, Grafton filed his complaint for divorce in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi. The matter was called for trial on June 8, 1983. Those proceedings were interrupted, however, when the parties determined that a reconciliation should be attempted. The trial was resumed on December 4, 1984, the reconciliation having obviously failed. The parties agreed that the June 1983 testimony would be considered by the court in its disposition of the matter.

Mary admitted an adulterous course of conduct prior to the 1983 hearing. At the December 1984 hearing, however, she argued that her pre-June 1983 adultery had been condoned and had not been repeated. Grafton, on the other hand, denied condonation and argued revival based on a resumption of Mary's previous course of conduct.

The Chancery Court entered judgment in favor of Grafton granting him a divorce on grounds of adultery apparently relying upon Mary's admitted conduct prior to the 1983 hearing "which, in this Court's opinion, has never been condoned."

On the question of alimony, the Chancery Court stated its view that normally one guilty of adultery is not entitled to alimony or support, but that the facts before the Court necessitated a different course. The record reflects that Mary was 52 years old at the time, had minimal job skills and experience, had in the recent past had cancer surgery, coupled with evidence that Grafton was earning close to $40,000 a

Page 505

year and that Mary had been married to Grafton for 36 years. In that setting the Court awarded Mary $10,000 as lump sum alimony payable at $500 per month without interest, together with one-half of the personal property owned by the parties and exclusive use and possession of the residence of the parties until June 1, 1985, at which time the use of the residence would be delivered to Grafton Wood.

II.

Mary Wood first assigns as error so much of the judgment of the Chancery Court as granted Grafton a divorce on grounds of adultery. Mary argues that the pre-June 1983 adultery was condoned and that Grafton failed to prove that she had committed any new acts of adultery thereafter. Because of the manner in which the Chancery Court resolved this matter, we need consider only the condonation issue.

The defense of condonation is recognized in our law. Stribling v. Stribling, 215 So.2d 869, 870 (Miss.1968); Starr v. Starr, 206 Miss. 1, 39 So.2d 520, 523 (1949). Condonation is the forgiveness of a marital wrong on the part of the wronged party. Condonation may be expressed or implied. Thames v. Thames, 233 Miss. 24, 29, 100 So.2d 868, 870 (1958); Armstrong v. Armstrong, 32 Miss. 279, 283 (1856) and Scott v. Scott, 219 Miss. 614, 629, 69 So.2d 489, 494 (1954).

The mere resumption of residence does not constitute a condonation of past martial sins and does not act as a bar to a divorce being granted. Compare Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 93-5-4 (1972). Condonation, even if a true condonation exists, is conditioned on the offending spouse's continued good behavior. If the offending party...

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39 practice notes
  • Michael D.C. v. Wanda L.C., No. 23937
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 24, 1997
    ...of residence does not constitute a condonation of past martial sins and does not act as a bar to a divorce being granted." Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 505 (Miss.1986). Therefore, the fact that the parties lived in the same residence after Mr. C. learned of the adulterous conduct is insuffi......
  • Retzer v. Retzer, No. 89-CA-0589
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 12, 1990
    ...476, 119 So. 581 (1928). 4 Two of our decisions might suggest otherwise, Jordan v. Jordan, 510 So.2d 131 (Miss.1987), and Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 506 (Miss.1986). In both these cases the husband had been granted a divorce from the wife on adultery, and in both cases the wife was awarde......
  • Brooks v. Brooks, No. 92-CA-01197-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 30, 1995
    ...the husband to pay. As long as the chancellor follows this general standard, the amount is largely within his discretion. Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 506 (Miss.1986); Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 93-5-23 (Supp.1989). The chancellor should consider the reasonable needs of the wife and the right of t......
  • Tilley v. Tilley, No. 91-CA-467
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 10, 1992
    ...opportunity to sense the equities of the situation before it." Holleman v. Holleman, 527 So.2d 90, 94 (Miss.1988) (citing Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503 In a proper case, the chancellor can award alimony payable in one lump sum or periodic alimony, payable monthly, or both, dependent upon the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • Michael D.C. v. Wanda L.C., No. 23937
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 24, 1997
    ...of residence does not constitute a condonation of past martial sins and does not act as a bar to a divorce being granted." Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 505 (Miss.1986). Therefore, the fact that the parties lived in the same residence after Mr. C. learned of the adulterous conduct is insuffi......
  • Retzer v. Retzer, No. 89-CA-0589
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 12, 1990
    ...476, 119 So. 581 (1928). 4 Two of our decisions might suggest otherwise, Jordan v. Jordan, 510 So.2d 131 (Miss.1987), and Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 506 (Miss.1986). In both these cases the husband had been granted a divorce from the wife on adultery, and in both cases the wife was awarde......
  • Brooks v. Brooks, No. 92-CA-01197-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 30, 1995
    ...the husband to pay. As long as the chancellor follows this general standard, the amount is largely within his discretion. Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503, 506 (Miss.1986); Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 93-5-23 (Supp.1989). The chancellor should consider the reasonable needs of the wife and the right of t......
  • Tilley v. Tilley, No. 91-CA-467
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 10, 1992
    ...opportunity to sense the equities of the situation before it." Holleman v. Holleman, 527 So.2d 90, 94 (Miss.1988) (citing Wood v. Wood, 495 So.2d 503 In a proper case, the chancellor can award alimony payable in one lump sum or periodic alimony, payable monthly, or both, dependent upon the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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