Category Archives: Child Support

When do YOU get to Keep the Ring?

I have written about when you do NOT get to keep the ring. The Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed a time when you do…


In the case of Cummins v. Goolsby, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the “fiancee”  keeping the ring even though the parties did not get married. However, there was a catch.  The groom-to-be was married to another at the time of the engagement!

In fact at the time of the appeal, the groom-to-be was still married. The Court’s rationale was that conditioning a gift on marriage when one cannot lawfully marry violates public policy and constitutes unclean hands. Thus, the chancellor did not err when awarding the ring to the now “ex-fiancee.”

Also, the Court ruled that the groom-to-be now father, was not entitled to a credit of the value of the ring against child support owed for the child he had with his “ex-fiancee.”

There are several lessons to be learned from this case…

Matthew Thompson is a child custody and matrimonial lawyer in Mississippi.

When an “Agreement” is Not an Agreement.

Let’s agree to disagree.


Parties in a lawsuit have a lot of latitude to agree to settlement terms. This is certainly true in divorce. Virtually everything is negotiable and if an agreement can be reached, usually it will be approved by the Court.

However, to be an enforceable agreement it must be approved by the Court. Until such time as your agreement is reduced to writing, signed and approved by the Court, it is on iffy ground as to enforceability issues. While some issues may be contracted without Court approval in a family law case, such as property division and alimony, some issues can not be enforced absent Court approval, such as child custody related terms.

Likewise, “changing” your Court papers without Court approval is dicey. Swapping out a holiday here or a week there is not usually a big deal, but changing payment terms, amounts, or duration can lead to serious consequences if done without Court approval. Child support vests as it comes due and absent exigent circumstances cannot be forgiven.

An agreement to agree is no agreement at all.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney and reminds you to have your Agreement approved by the Court in an Order.


14th District Chancery Race is On! Starkville, Columbus, Houston, Okolona and more…

The State of Mississippi is divided into twenty Chancery Court districts. The Fourteenth Chancery Court District includes Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster Counties.


There are three chancellors for the 14th district and all of them are retiring. Today’s post is about the Honorable Kenneth Burns‘ position. Judge Burns, first elected in 2003, has set a high standard for the future Judge to follow in his robe, er…footsteps.

So far, five candidates have qualified,  guaranteeing a runoff.

Elizabeth Fox Ausbern 

This candidate has been practicing law since 1993, the majority of which has been devoted to the area of chancery law. Her office is in Houston, MS.

In my personal life, I have been faced with divorce and now the death of someone I love dearly. I know my personal experiences will equip me to empathize with those individuals before the court.

The voting area will encompass Chickasaw and Webster counties and the precincts of South Adaton, South Longview, South Starkville, West Starkville, Sturgis/North Bradley, Self Creek:Double Springs, Center Gove/ North and Craig Springs/ South of Oktibbeha County.

Gene Barton

Barton, practicing for over 40 years, is from Okolona, MS. He has a general practice and approximately half of which is family law related.

Todd Bennett 

Practicing since 2007, Bennett handles domestic and real estate cases in Houston, MS and the surrounding area. These are matters heard in Chancery Court.

On January 5th, I qualified with the MS Secretary of State’s office to be a candidate for Chancery Judge 14th District, Place 1… Since my practice started in 2007, I have almost exclusively practiced in the areas covered by the Chancery Court… I only ask three things of those who read this. First, pray for me as I embark on this new adventure, no matter the results. Second, please share this post with your family and friends, especially those that will vote for Place 1. Third, please consider voting on November 6th for me to be your next Chancery Judge 14th District, Place 1.

Rodney Faver 

Faver is a partner in the law firm of Ward, Rogers & Faver, PLLC located in… Starkville, Mississippi. His firm provides a broad range of services to clients… with a special emphasis in Litigation, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Divorce cases.

Rodney P. Faver has over 27 years of trial experience in both Mississippi and Florida. Mr. Faver has dedicated his diverse legal career to the pursuit of justice for the people he represents, and is dedicated to the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Lee Ann Turner 

Turner devotes most of her practice to family law and other chancery court matters at The Winfield Law Firm, P.A., in Starkville, MS. Since 2009 she has been appointed as a Special Master for commitments and Youth Court Referee for Oktibbeha County, served on dozens of cases as a Guardian Ad Litem to protect children’s interests in Chancery Court matters, is the Starkville School District’s Student Disciplinary Hearing Officer, and serves on the Board of Directors for Safe Haven, a domestic violence shelter located in Columbus.  Lee Ann is frequently asked to speak at continuing legal education seminars (CLE’s) and most recently gave a presentation on ethics at the Mississippi Judicial College’s Youth Court Judges’ Fall 2017 training seminar.   Lee Ann was also selected as one of Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women for the class of 2009 by the Mississippi Business Journal.

J.D. in 1996 from the University of Alabama School of Law,  Editor-in-Chief of the Law and Psychology Review, a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society, Phi Delta Phi, and Managing Editor of the Law School newspaper.

Before entering private practice in 2003, Lee Ann spent nearly 6 years as the Staff Attorney for the 14th District Chancery Court of the State of Mississippi, working for Chancellors Dorothy W. Colom, Kenneth M. Burns, Robert L. Lancaster, James S. Gore, and Woodrow W. Brand.

The Candidate bios are piecemealed together by me. Information regarding the candidates was not always easily ascertainable. I provided links to their FaceBook pages, personal firm pages or the source of the information quoted above.

Matthew Thompson is a Chancery Court practitioner and will continue to update the Chancery judge races throughout this campaign season.