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.
You have seen the recent news about a local man being arrested and jailed for his refusal to pay Court Ordered Child Support. Now, this is only done after one is initially ordered to pay, doesn’t pay, then is formally requested to pay, given notice, given an opportunity to pay or prove their inability to pay with specificity, and then and only then, jailed as a last resort. In these circumstances, knowing the layers of review, the opportunities afforded by the Court and the fact that everyone had a lawyer (actually multiple lawyers), my sympathy is nil. This is Contempt of Court and ultimately the wrong-doer has the keys to the jail. All you have to do is pay what you owe and you are free to go.
However, if you still don’t pay, your troubles can multiply.
TITLE 97. CRIMES
CHAPTER 5. OFFENSES AFFECTING CHILDREN
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-5-3 (2016)
§ 97-5-3. Desertion or nonsupport of child under age eighteen
Any parent who shall desert or wilfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her…children…while said…children are under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be guilty of a felony and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not more than five (5) years, or both; and for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not less than two (2) years nor more than five (5) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Prison for not paying child support? Yes. It’s the law.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody and Child Support Attorney in Mississippi.
Cash is King, but only when you can prove you paid it!
When a party alleges that the other has not paid their support obligations the Court looks to the payor to prove what was paid, not the payee to prove what was not. In simple terms, if you owed $500 per month in child support and I sued you for contempt and said you had not paid, that’s all I have to do, and the burden shifts to you to prove you did pay what was Ordered and owed. If you cannot prove it, you may be out of luck.
“But I paid cash…,”are famous last words. She is not going to admit that you paid cash or if you did it was because you owed her money, not that it was the child support payment.
Get a receipt. Everytime. Hand write it on notebook paper if you have to. Keep good records. How much was paid and on what date it was paid. Your wallet and your freedom, at least temporarily, may depend on it.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and advises you to get a receipt.
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(601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms