Before Bridges, C.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/08/1998
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PERCY LEE LYNCHARD JR.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: REFUSED TO RECOGNIZE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DIVORCE OR REMARRIAGE; MODIFIED VISITATION
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED AND REMANDED IN PART - 12/18/98
¶1. The chancellor of DeSoto County refused to recognize a divorce that Edward B. Carr obtained in the Dominican Republic, and his subsequent marriage in Nevada. As a result of this refusal, the chancellor modified Carr's visitation with his children, forbidding the presence of the purported new wife whenever Carr's children visited. We affirm as to the invalidity of the divorce but reverse and remand for further proceedings as to visitation.
¶2. Edward B. Carr and Mary Juanita Dennis Carr were married in Newton, Mississippi on June 8, 1980. They later settled in Collierville, Tennessee, where they resided with their three children, Sarah Elizabeth, Allen Denton, and Leslie Ann, until Edward's move to DeSoto County, Mississippi in 1994. Mary Carr and the children remained in Tennessee.
¶3. In January of 1996, Mr. Carr filed a complaint for divorce in the DeSoto County Chancery Court on the grounds of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment and/or irreconcilable differences. The chancellor did not grant the divorce and instead awarded Mrs. Carr separate maintenance and child support. The Carrs were given joint legal custody of their three children.
¶4. Still seeking a divorce, Edward traveled to the Dominican Republic in April of 1997. After a two-day visit, he obtained an irreconcilable differences divorce. Mrs. Carr was served with notice of the proceedings but did not appear. Several months later, Mr. Carr married Charlotte Lannom in Henderson, Nevada. Mr. Carr's first and perhaps still wife Mary Carr then filed a petition in the DeSoto County Chancery Court seeking to terminate or modify Mr. Carr's visitation rights with his children. She claimed that her husband now lived in a bigamous and adulterous relationship that was harmful to the children.
¶5. Following a hearing held on December 22, 1997, the chancellor entered an order refusing to recognize the Dominican divorce. Consequently, the subsequent marriage was denied recognition as well. The chancellor agreed that adultery and bigamy created the wrong environment and ...