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04/14/95 FRANK WILLIAM BOYKIN II v. MELANIE S.

April 14, 1995

FRANK WILLIAM BOYKIN II
v.
MELANIE S. BOYKIN



Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (DR-92-502493.02).

Holmes, Retired Appellate Judge. All the Judges concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Holmes

HOLMES, Retired Appellate Judge

This is a contempt case.

Frank William Boykin II (husband) and Melanie S. Boykin (wife) were divorced in September 1992. Under the terms of the divorce decree, the wife was awarded custody of the parties' minor child, and the husband was to pay $929 per month as child support and $750 per month as periodic alimony.

In August 1993 the wife filed a petition for rule nisi, wherein she requested that the trial court hold the husband in contempt for failure to comply with the provisions of the divorce decree, including a failure to be current in his child support and alimony obligations. The husband filed an answer and a counterclaim, wherein he alleged that there had been a material change in circumstances due to his becoming unemployed, and he requested that the trial court reduce the amount of his alimony and child support obligations.

In December 1993 the trial court issued an order, wherein it adopted the terms of an agreement reached by the parties. The order provided that the monthly child support obligation would be reduced to $865. The order also provided that the current alimony arrearage owed was $11,500 and that the husband's child support obligation was current. The parties agreed that the husband could satisfy the arrearage by paying a total of $8,000, plus attorney fees and costs, on or before January 15, 1994.

In March 1994 the wife filed another petition for rule nisi, wherein she alleged that the husband had failed to pay the $8,000. The wife requested that the trial court hold the husband in contempt and order that the husband be incarcerated until he paid the $11,500 arrearage in full. The husband filed an answer and a counterclaim, wherein he requested that the trial court limit the number of years that he is obligated to pay alimony to the wife to a five-year period. In his answer to the petition for rule nisi, the husband stated, in pertinent part:

"The [husband] acknowledges being indebted to the [wife] as the result of a judgment entered by this court on December 10, 1993. The [husband] is without funds to pay the judgment and insofar as the [husband] is concerned, there is nothing further for this court to do with regard to that judgment."

The trial court held a hearing on the petition for rule nisi and issued an order, dated June 13, 1994, wherein it reaffirmed the $11,500 judgment and awarded another judgment of $3,600 for delinquent alimony to the wife. In its order the trial court held the husband in direct contempt of court and stated that the husband could purge himself by complying with all provisions of the divorce decree, including the payment of all judgments for alimony and attorney fees. The trial court's order also provided that in the event that the husband failed, refused, or neglected to purge himself of contempt, the trial court would issue a writ of arrest for the husband.

In July 1994 the wife filed a certificate of non-compliance, wherein she stated that the husband had failed to comply with the trial court's orders, and she requested that the trial court issue a writ of arrest for the husband. The trial court issued a writ of arrest.

The husband filed a motion to withdraw the writ of arrest and to alter or amend the support payments, wherein he alleged that he was unable to comply with the trial court's orders regarding payment of prior judgments of alimony and attorney fees.

The trial court held a hearing on the husband's motion in September 1994. Thereafter, the trial court issued an order, ...


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