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McMillian v. McMillian

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

February 23, 2018

Cedric McMillian
v.
Beverly Cole McMillian

         Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court, Bessemer Division (DR-14-900445)

          MOORE, JUDGE.

         Cedric McMillian ("the husband") appeals from a judgment entered by the Bessemer Division of the Jefferson Circuit Court ("the trial court"), divorcing him from Beverly Cole McMillian ("the wife"). We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Procedural History

         On October 20, 2014, the wife filed a complaint seeking a divorce from the husband. After a hearing and based upon the parties' agreement, the husband was ordered to pay pendente lite child support in the amount of $1, 700 per month. On November 20, 2014, the husband answered the complaint. After a subsequent hearing, the husband was ordered to pay pendente lite alimony in the amount of $7, 000 a month.

         On July 7, 2015, the husband filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that the parties had reconciled. The wife filed an objection to the motion to dismiss, denying that the parties had reconciled. The husband's motion to dismiss was denied on March 2, 2016.

         After a trial, the trial court entered a judgment on June 19, 2017, that, among other things, divorced the parties; divided the parties' property; and ordered the husband to pay child support in the amount of $1, 000 per month, to pay periodic alimony in the amount of $4, 000 per month, and to pay the wife a total of $100, 000 in alimony in gross. The trial court entered an order on June 23, 2017, appointing a special master to oversee the division of property set forth in the divorce judgment. On June 22, 2017, the husband filed his notice of appeal.[1]

         Facts

         The parties were married in 2006; two children were born of the marriage. The wife testified that, during the marriage, the husband had committed adultery multiple times and had been physically abusive.

         The husband testified that, from 2006 until 2008, he had worked as a business manager for an automobile dealership earning between $90, 000 and $100, 000 annually and that he had paid most of the parties' monthly expenses. He testified that the automobile industry "pretty much collapsed" in 2008 and that the parties had struggled financially for a period. The wife testified that, in 2010, the parties purchased Majestic Memorials and Florals ("Majestic"), a headstone and floral business, and that she had worked at that business for one year before she left to manage Forest Grove Florist, a business owned by family friends. The husband admitted that the wife had worked for Majestic in the floral department but testified that she had worked there for only four months.

         In January or February 2014, the parties purchased George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens, Inc. ("GWC"), a company that operated a cemetery and that, at that time, was involved in a bankruptcy proceeding. The wife testified that the parties had purchased GWC for $19, 000; the husband, however, testified that they had purchased it for $18, 000. The wife testified that the parties had paid $1, 000 in earnest money and that, in order to fund the remaining amount owed on the purchase price of GWC, the parties had used $3, 000 from the wife's income-tax-refund proceeds and $5, 000 from the Majestic business checking account; she testified that the parties had sold two trucks, which, she said, "were included in the purchase of [GWC], " to pay the remainder of the purchase price, i.e., $10, 000. The husband admitted that the wife had helped fund the purchase of GWC. The wife testified that she had worked for GWC managing the employees and the cemetery grounds and handling scheduling and payroll. She testified that she had worked for GWC for nine months, earning $8, 000 per month, until the husband had terminated her employment during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. According to the wife, GWC had been very chaotic coming out of the bankruptcy proceedings so, she said, she had put all of her time into getting the business back in order. The husband admitted that the wife had handled the accounting for GWC, but, he said, she had done so for only three months.

         The wife testified that the income from Majestic and GWC had been used to support the parties' household. The wife testified that, before the complaint for divorce was filed, the parties had lived in nice homes and had traveled. She testified that she had been able to get her hair and nails done and to have a housekeeper. She testified, however, that, after the divorce action was commenced, she had had to cut back on expenses.

         The wife testified that she earns between $1, 500 and $2, 000 per month from Forest Grove Florist. She testified that the lease for the building that housed Forest Grove Florist had expired and that, as the manager of that business, she did not intend on renewing it because the business was not making enough money. She testified that, at the time of the trial, she was in the process of earning a bachelor of science degree in business administration and that she would complete her degree in one and a half semesters. The wife testified that the husband had not been consistent in paying his pendente lite support obligations and that he owed arrearages in the amount of $49, 501.

         The husband testified that, at the time of the trial, he was earning approximately $17, 500 per month. He testified that he is renting a house for $2, 600 per month and that the residence has two kitchens, seven bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a weight room. He testified that he visits Pearl River Resort, a casino, five times per month ...


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