January 2019 | No. 2017-CA-01203-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 2019)

McCall v. McCall (Mississippi 2019)

When divorcing parents agree a property settlement, including child support, the court will treat the settlement like any other contract. The parents in this case filed for divorce and signed a property settlement, in which they agreed to the amount of monthly child support and a lump sum child support payment. Subsequently, the father filed to modify. The mother counterclaimed for contempt for failure to pay. The chancery court denied the modification and found father in contempt for failure to pay. The father appealed. He argued that the child support didn’t comply with the Mississippi guidelines and that Mississippi law forbids lump sum child support payments. The court of appeals upheld the chancery court’s decision. It found that the father had not timely appealed the divorce decree, so any arguments about its terms were barred. Further, the father had agreed to a settlement, and any agreement he made outside the statutory guidelines was enforceable. The court of appeals also found the denial of the modification was appropriate. The father had lost his business, but he hadn’t been paying child support long before.

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