George Neville and Tina Neville were married. At the time, George was 31 years old and a practicing attorney; Tina was a 23 year old medical student. After seven years, Tina became a licensed physician. Soon after, George filed for divorce from Tina because she was having an adulterous affair with another doctor. At the time of the divorce, George was earning $ 55,000 per year practicing law; Tina was earning $ 165,000 per year as a physician.
The divorce was filed in Mississippi, where the couple lived. Mississippi follows the doctrine of equitable distribution. George sought to have Tina’s medical license and medical practice valued as an ongoing business, and he claimed a portion of the value. The court refused George’s request and instead applied the doctrine of equitable distribution and awarded him rehabilitative alimony of $ 1,400 per month for 120 months. The aggregate amount of the alimony was $ 168,000. George appealed this award, alleging on appeal that Tina’s medical license and practice should be valued and that he should receive a portion of this value. Under the doctrine of equitable distribution, is the trial court’s award fair, or should George win on appeal? Neville v. Neville, 734 So. 2d 352, 1999 Miss. App. Lexis 68 (Court of Appeals of Mississippi)