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LINDA KAY K. MOSELEY CROWSON v. RICHARD HENRY MOSELEY

NOVEMBER 27, 1985

LINDA KAY K. MOSELEY CROWSON
v.
RICHARD HENRY MOSELEY



BEFORE WALKER, HAWKINS AND PRATHER

HAWKINS, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

The parties on this appeal from the Chancery Court of Lauderdale County are Linda Kay Moseley Crowson and Richard Henry Moseley.

In the original divorce proceedings between the parties, Moseley was granted custody. Involved before us now is whether the chancellor erred in failing to give the mother a more extended visitation right with their children.

 Although other assignments of error have been made, we address this issue only, and have concluded the chancellor erred in not granting more extensive visitation to the mother.

 FACTS

 On June 5, 1980, the Chancery Court of Lauderdale County granted Moseley a divorce from his wife Linda on the ground of adultery. Three children were born of their marriage, namely: Richard Lee, born February 22, 1971; Mary Suzanne, born February 26, 1973; and John Kelly, born May 22, 1976. Moseley was granted custody. The chancellor rendered a strong opinion castigating Linda.

 On August 20, 1980, Linda married Thomas D. Crowson, M.D., the correspondent in her divorce from Moseley.

 On January 21, 1983, Mrs. Crowson filed in the Chancery Court of Lauderdale County a "Motion to Enforce Judgment, Modification, Change in Custody and Alternative Relief," and after discovery and preliminary skirmishes the matter came on for hearing before the chancellor (not the same one who decided the divorce action) on March 21, 1983. After a four day trial, the chancellor rendered his opinion on March 24, 1983. In an exceptionally well reasoned and thoughtful opinion, the chancellor stated (Vol. VI, pp.903-904):

 These children do not want to be a problem area for these parents. Mr. Moseley is the custodial parent and these children must have the stability of a home base. Mr. Moseley has provided a home base and the accompanying parental love. However, these children need to know and appreciate and share the love of their mother.

 The plaintiff has rehabilitated herself so she should have additional visitation. The Court finds that these children should visit with their mother for extended periods of time and such visitation should be set by the Court.

 The Court has encouraged the attorneys for these litigants to settle this matter on several occasions. The reasons stated to those attorneys at the time settlement was encouraged was so that these children would know that their parents had mutually taken an action for their benefit and so that visitation could have the flexibility that only a negotiated agreement could produce.

 The settlement was not forthcoming and the Court does respond with the following visitation schedule, which will commence April 1, 1983: . . .

 The chancellor then gave Mrs. Moseley weekend visitation once a month, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Friday and terminating 9:30 a.m. the following Sunday, with her obligated to take the children to church and leave them there. Also, at Moseley's selection, she could have the children one additional period a month from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 7:30 p.m. the next day. She was allowed day time visitation on Mother's Day from 9:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., three days during Spring vacation, Thanksgiving Day or the day following, Christmas Eve and three other days during the Christmas holidays, at Moseley's selection. During summer vacations Mrs. Crowson was given the children six days, from 9:00 a.m. Monday until 7:00 p.m. the following Saturday.

 Other matters were considered and other relief granted, including an allowance to Moseley ...


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