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Cupp v. Cupp

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 8, 2013

Steven Anthony CUPP, Appellant
v.
Jennifer Gray CUPP (Wolfe), Appellee.

Page 112

Gregory C. Morton, Olive Branch, attorney for appellant.

Jerry Wesley Hisaw, Southaven, attorney for appellee.

Before IRVING, P.J., ISHEE and MAXWELL, JJ.

ISHEE, J.

¶ 1. In August 2010, Steven Anthony Cupp (Steve) and Jennifer Gray Cupp (Jenny) were married in DeSoto County, Mississippi. They resided there until their separation in Tennessee in June 2011. Jenny initially filed for divorce based on habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, but the parties eventually agreed to an irreconcilable-differences divorce. They submitted the issues of property classification and division of the marital estate, among other issues, to the DeSoto County Chancery Court. After the chancery court entered its final judgment, Steve filed an appeal. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶ 2. Immediately following the parties' wedding in August 2010, Steve and Jenny, along with Jenny's son from a prior relationship, lived in a home Steve had purchased prior to the marriage in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. Steve purchased the home for a total of $123,000, making a $7,000 down payment and paying for the remainder through a mortgage. Shortly after the wedding, the couple decided to move to Sevierville, Tennessee. Steve left for Sevierville ahead of Jenny to make business and home plans for the couple.

¶ 3. Steve, a former auto-collision-repair worker, developed medical conditions just prior to the marriage, which caused his doctor to recommend that he leave the auto industry. He started an unsuccessful vehicle-graphics business that ended shortly after the couple wed. Thereafter, Steve moved to Sevierville with plans to open a souvenir shop.

¶ 4. Steve had inherited approximately $170,000 from his mother's estate. He used the funds to relocate and rent a home and office space. He also used the money to buy items for the shop, including a $9,985 laser printer, among other things. Steve states that he spent the majority of his inheritance on the business. The business eventually failed, and by 2012, the balance in Steve's separate account containing his inheritance from his mother was approximately $2,600.

¶ 5. Jenny, who has an associate's degree and has worked as a legal secretary and paralegal, was working as a teacher's assistant in DeSoto County at the time of

Page 113

the marriage. In 2011, Jenny earned approximately $1,450 a month. Due to Steve's numerous changes in employment, Jenny had him listed on her employer's health insurance during the course of the marriage.

¶ 6. A few weeks after the couple married, Steve purchased a 2005 Honda Odyssey van for Jenny using funds from his separate account. The van is valued at approximately $13,000. Steve owns a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado truck valued at $3,000 that he acquired before he married Jenny. Jenny entered the marriage with a 2001 Toyota Camry, which she sold in May 2011 for $4,500. The funds from the sale of the 2001 Toyota Camry were deposited into the couple's joint account.

¶ 7. In June 2011, the couple separated. Steve alleges that just prior to the separation, Jenny transferred approximately $6,450 from Steve's separate account into their joint account. Although Jenny did not have permission to access his separate account, Steve asserts that she contacted his ex-wife and others to determine his user name, password, and the answer to the account's security question. Around May 2011, Jenny withdrew the $4,500 from the sale of her vehicle from their joint account and closed the account. Aside from $1,500 Jenny admitted to having contributed to rent for the home ...


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