JACKSON – A Monroe County man’s child-support order will be reheard in chancery court after the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the rulings of both the Monroe County Chancery Court and Mississippi Court of Appeals.
A 2005 divorce settlement gave custody of both of Donald Brewer’s children to his ex-wife, but when he took custody of one shortly after the divorce, he, his ex-wife and their respective attorneys agreed to reduce the amount of child support Brewer would pay his ex-wife.
The agreement was never presented to Chancellor Talmage Littlejohn and, though the agreed and reduced payment had been made for several years, Littlejohn held Brewer in contempt of court for violating his previous child-support order when he learned of the reduced payments.
The Court of Appeals upheld Littlejohn’s contempt ruling and substantially higher financial support payment for ex-wife Penny Mathis Holliday.
When the couple divorced, Brewer agreed to give custody of both sons to Holliday and $1,185 per month in child support.
Soon after, the older child moved in with his father and Brewer asked for modification of the custody agreement. Holliday disagreed.
After the move, they negotiated outside of court to reduce the child support payment to $600 per month until the youngest child was emancipated. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement, which was never presented for filing in the court.
Littlejohn ordered a back support payment of $34,515 from Brewer and granted Holliday $3,500 in attorney’s fees.
The Court of Appeals supported the ruling for back payment and awarded Holliday an additional $1,750 in appellate attorney’s fees.
The Supreme Court ruled the case be reheard in chancery court with the consideration that one of the two children lived in Brewer’s custody and under his direct support for almost the entire period of dispute.