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Renfro v. Renfro

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

July 30, 2013

Claudia Joan Hill RENFRO, Appellant
v.
John Malcolm RENFRO, Appellee.

Rehearing Denied Nov. 5, 2013.

Page 93

Luther Putnam Crull Jr., attorney for appellant.

Sabrina D. Howell, Kathi Crestman Wilson, Grenada, A.E. (Rusty) Harlow Jr., attorneys for appellee.

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., ROBERTS and CARLTON, JJ.

CARLTON, J.

¶ 1. On April 4, 2012, the Grenada County Chancery Court entered a judgment of divorce on the ground of adultery for Claudia Joan Hill Renfro and John Malcolm Renfro (" Johnny" ). In the judgment of divorce, the chancellor awarded each party one-half of the total of all of the marital property, both real and personal. Claudia now appeals, claiming that the chancellor erred in determining that certain real property at issue constituted marital property. Finding error in the chancellor's judgment, we reverse and remand.

Page 94

FACTS

¶ 2. Claudia and Johnny married on August 20, 1987. The marriage produced no children. The parties separated on January 22, 2011, after Claudia discovered that Johnny engaged in an affair with their neighbor, Karen James.

¶ 3. At a trial held on February 17, 2012, Johnny and Karen admitted that they were living together and engaging in adultery. Johnny admitted that he made no effort to hide his affair with Karen from Claudia. Johnny testified that his and Karen's affair began " about forty years" prior to the trial. Johnny and Claudia also testified regarding their marital property.[1]

¶ 4. After the trial, the chancellor requested the parties to submit their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. On March 23, 2012, the court filed its opinion, and on April 4, 2012, entered its final judgment granting Claudia a divorce from Johnny on the ground of uncondoned adultery.

¶ 5. The chancellor also equitably distributed the marital property. In her judgment, the chancellor listed the following property as marital property: the marital residence, two automobiles, a 401(k) through Claudia's employment, a certificate of deposit with Renasant Bank with a value of $28,538.32, a certificate of deposit with State Farm Bank valued at $33,252.32, and the cash value of New York Life Insurance in the amount of $21,131.60. The chancellor further stated that during the course of the marriage, Claudia received a conveyance of property from her mother, approximately 140 acres [2] of unimproved land. Based on the testimony, the chancellor determined that this property constituted marital property. In reaching this determination, the chancellor stated in her final judgment that Claudia " indicated that the development and management of the property as a tree farm was for the purpose of providing income for the parties' retirement," thus changing the normally nonmarital character of the property. The chancellor then found the total value of all marital property, both real and personal, amounted to $580,200.7, and she awarded fifty percent of this amount to each party.

¶ 6. Claudia filed her appeal from the April 4, 2012 judgment [3] on April 11, 2012, arguing that the chancellor erroneously ...


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