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CLAYTON IHNAT BROWN v. MARY DARLENE BROWN

AUGUST 27, 1986

CLAYTON IHNAT BROWN
v.
MARY DARLENE BROWN



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, P.J.; ROBERTSON AND SULLIVAN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

The matter of the dissolution of the marriage of the parties is pending before courts of competent jurisdiction in Mississippi and in California. Both parties have unqualifiedly been subjected to in personam jurisdiction in the courts of each state.

The question presented on this interlocutory appeal is whether the chancery court below abused its discretion when it stayed the Mississippi proceedings, pending outcome of the California action. We hold that it did not. We affirm and remand.

 II.

 Clayton Ihnat Brown and Mary Darlene Brown were married to each other in Oxnard, Calfornia, on October 12, 1968. They have one child, Robert Clayton Brown, born on July 29, 1971. Insofar as the record reflects, neither party had any contact

 with this state until Clayton Brown was assigned military duty on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mary Darlene Brown has remained in California.

 The chronology of events is of importance here:

 August 17, 1984: Clayton Brown files complaint for divorce against Mary Darlene Brown in the Chancery Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, First Judicial District. Insofar as the record reflects, no process was issued or served.

 August 28, 1984: Mary Darlene Brown filed her complaint for divorce in the Superior Court of California, County of Ventura, naming Clayton Ihnat Brown as the defendant.

 September 27, 1984: Clayton Brown entered his appearance in the California action and denied the allegations of Mary Darlene's complaint for divorce and claimed entitlement to a stay of proceedings by reason of the Soldiers and Sailor's Civil Relief Act of 1940, 50 U.S.C. App. 513. Brown asserted that he was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed at Gulfport, Mississippi.

 September 28, 1984: The Superior Court for Ventura County entered an order for stay of the California proceedings.

 October 17, 1984: Clayton Brown filed an amended complaint in the Chancery Court of Harrison County.

 January 14, 1985: Mary Darlene Brown filed her answer in the Harrison County proceedings and moved that those proceedings be stayed pending the outcome of the California proceedings.

 July 16, 1985: Mary Darlene Brown filed a motion to dismiss the Mississippi proceedings for lack of jurisdiction, asserting that the jurisdiction of the ...


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