Wray v. Wray, No. 52584

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtHAWKINS; PATTERSON
Citation394 So.2d 1341
Decision Date11 March 1981
Docket NumberNo. 52584
PartiesBenjamin C. WRAY v. Sarah Dawn WRAY.

Page 1341

394 So.2d 1341
Benjamin C. WRAY
v.
Sarah Dawn WRAY.
No. 52584.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
March 11, 1981.

Page 1342

Virgil G. Gillespie, Gulfport, for appellant.

Jimmy D. McQuire, Gulfport, for appellee.

Before ROBERTSON, BROOM and HAWKINS, JJ.

HAWKINS, Justice, for the Court:

This is an appeal by the appellant Benjamin C. Wray from a final decree or order of the Chancery Court of Harrison County construing a divorce decree theretofore rendered by the same court, and awarding certain alimony to the appellee Sarah Dawn Wray to have been a "lump sum" alimony provision as opposed to "periodic or continuing alimony."

We reverse and render.

On August 10, 1979, a final decree for divorce was granted the appellee Sarah Dawn Wray from her husband the appellant Benjamin C. Wray, containing the following language:

"4. That the parties hereto have jointly and voluntarily entered into a property settlement agreement and that this Court has reviewed same and does hereby approve same. Consequently, the parties are hereby ordered and directed to abide by and be in compliance with the following awards:

"a. The complainant is hereby awarded alimony in the amount of $400 per month for the next 24 months, the first payment being due on the 1st day of September, 1979. At the expiration of the aforesaid 24 months, the complainant shall be awarded alimony until her remarriage at the rate of $200 per month.

"b. The complainant is hereby awarded the sum of $200 per month as child

Page 1343

support for the minor child. Said award shall commence on the 1st day of September, 1979, and continue until further order of the Court. Additionally, the defendant shall be responsible for the educational expenses of the minor child.

"c. The aforesaid child support and alimony payments shall be made and paid into the registry of this Court and the Clerk is hereby directed to forward same to the complainant.

"d. There are four existing life insurance policies. The complainant is hereby awarded the ownership, use and possession, and full benefit of the State Farm Life Insurance Policy believed to be Policy No. 848,584 and also the Estate Life Insurance Company of Indiana Policy believed to be Policy No. 705,844. Said policies are awarded to her until her death. The defendant is hereby ordered and directed to be responsible for and to make the payments on said policies and in no way shall he encumber or otherwise dispose of said policies. Defendant shall further provide complainant with proof of payment on said policies. As to the other life insurance policies being with the Government Personnel Life Insurance Company, Mr. Wray is hereby awarded ownership of said policies and may dispose of them according to his wishes. Should the complainant remarry, her ownership and beneficiary status in the two policies awarded her shall not be affected.

"e. The Defendant is hereby ordered and directed to deed over to Mrs. Wray the house and contents thereof located at 76 Fleetwood Drive, Gulfport, Mississippi.

"f. Defendant shall be responsible for maintaining the youngest child on ID privileges through the military and shall be responsible for any of his medical, hospital, or other medically related bills over and above those not covered by military privileges.

"g. The defendant shall deliver to the complainant the sum of $2,000 alimony and additionally deliver to her the sum of $750 as attorney's fees. Further, the cost of these proceedings shall be taxed against the defendant, Mr. Wray, for which let execution issue.

"ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED, this the 10th day of August, 1979."

Wray paid three of the monthly installments of $400.00 beginning September 1, 1979, through November 1, 1979. Mrs. Wray remarried November 19, 1979.

The issue before the chancellor at the hearing held on May 7, 1980, was whether or not the above provision of the decree awarding alimony in the amount of $400.00 per month for 24 months was "lump sum alimony" or "periodic or continuing alimony." The chancellor was of the opinion that the alimony award for the first 24 months in the amount of $400.00 per month was clearly lump sum. His opinion states:

"This is emphasized by the last sentence of Paragraph 4(a) of the Final Decree which explicitly states that at the expiration of the 24 months, the Complainant shall be awarded alimony until her remarriage at a different rate."

The chancellor thereupon dismissed the petition of the appellant Wray to terminate the alimony payments on the ground that the appellee had remarried.

This appeal presents the sole question of whether the chancellor correctly interpreted the former decree rendered by himself in that court.

The interpretation of a Tennessee judgment was involved in the case of Gillum v. Gillum, 230 Miss. 246, 92 So.2d 665 (1957). In that case, quoting at length from CJS on Judgments, we made the following statements:

"As a general rule, the meaning, effect,...

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41 practice notes
  • Creekmore v. Creekmore, No. 92-CA-0498
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 23, 1995
    ...or a fixed sum of money are two characteristics of lump sum alimony. Holleman v. Holleman, 527 So.2d 90, 92 (Miss.1988); Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1345 (Miss.1981). "Lump sum alimony vests in the obligee upon final judgment making the award and becomes an obligation of the estate of the......
  • Estate of Stamper, No. 89-CA-0874
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 19, 1992
    ...court are the principal part of the objective accessible world the construing court may consult en route to construction. Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1343-44 (Miss.1981); Gillum v. Gillum, 230 Miss. at 255, 92 So.2d at It must be conceded the 1976 decree is not as clear as we might have p......
  • Hubbard v. Hubbard, No. 92-CA-01031-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 1, 1995
    ...499, 502-03 (Miss.1987); East v. East, 493 So.2d 927, 931 (Miss.1986); Colvin v. Colvin, 487 So.2d 840, 841 (Miss.1986); Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1344 (Miss.1981). Lump sum alimony differs in that it is a final settlement, not subject to modification. Bowe v. Bowe, 557 So.2d 793, 795 (......
  • East v. East, No. 55514
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 13, 1986
    ...It is also true that the husband's obligation to pay periodic alimony ceases upon his wife's remarriage or his death. Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341 (Miss.1981); Smith v. Smith, 349 So.2d 529 (Miss.1977); Vaughan v. Vaughan, 226 Miss. 153, 83 So.2d 821 (1955); East v. Collins, supra; and Side......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Creekmore v. Creekmore, No. 92-CA-0498
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 23, 1995
    ...or a fixed sum of money are two characteristics of lump sum alimony. Holleman v. Holleman, 527 So.2d 90, 92 (Miss.1988); Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1345 (Miss.1981). "Lump sum alimony vests in the obligee upon final judgment making the award and becomes an obligation of the estate of the......
  • Estate of Stamper, No. 89-CA-0874
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 19, 1992
    ...court are the principal part of the objective accessible world the construing court may consult en route to construction. Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1343-44 (Miss.1981); Gillum v. Gillum, 230 Miss. at 255, 92 So.2d at It must be conceded the 1976 decree is not as clear as we might have p......
  • Hubbard v. Hubbard, No. 92-CA-01031-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 1, 1995
    ...499, 502-03 (Miss.1987); East v. East, 493 So.2d 927, 931 (Miss.1986); Colvin v. Colvin, 487 So.2d 840, 841 (Miss.1986); Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341, 1344 (Miss.1981). Lump sum alimony differs in that it is a final settlement, not subject to modification. Bowe v. Bowe, 557 So.2d 793, 795 (......
  • East v. East, No. 55514
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 13, 1986
    ...It is also true that the husband's obligation to pay periodic alimony ceases upon his wife's remarriage or his death. Wray v. Wray, 394 So.2d 1341 (Miss.1981); Smith v. Smith, 349 So.2d 529 (Miss.1977); Vaughan v. Vaughan, 226 Miss. 153, 83 So.2d 821 (1955); East v. Collins, supra; and Side......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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