Cadigan v. Sullivan (Mississippi 2020)
Parents will be held to their extra-judicial agreements regarding child support. A Florida divorce decree awarded physical custody of the child to the father and set the mother’s child support. Several years later, the parents made an extra-judicial agreement that they would share custody of the child and not exchange support. The parties moved to Mississippi, and then, the child asked to live with his mother. Various pleadings were filed to register the Florida order in Mississippi and modify the custody and support provisions. The father wanted support enforced pursuant to the original divorce decree, which meant mother would have arrears. The final order awarded the mother custody, found that she was not in arrears, and set the father’s current support and arrears. The court denied the father’s post-trial request to offset his child support by the amount of the mother’s arrears. The father appealed. The court of appealed affirmed the decision. It found the record showed the parents had an agreement that mother’s support would be suspended based on a shared custody agreement and the mother testified she relied on the agreement. The court also noted the affidavit the father signed affirming that support was current through June 2014. The chancery court properly denied the request to offset arrears because it found the mother had no arrears.