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Summerlin v. Eldridge

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 19, 2014

TAMARA K. (ELDRIDGE) SUMMERLIN, APPELLANT
v.
GEORGE MICHAEL ELDRIDGE, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/04/2012.

UNION COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. JACQUELINE ESTES MASK, TRIAL JUDGE.

FOR APPELLANT: DAVID GRAHAM KENNEDY.

FOR APPELLEE: RICHARD SHANE MCLAUGHLIN, D. KIRK THARP, NICOLE H. MCLAUGHLIN.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 1262

LEE, C.J.:

¶1. In this child-custody matter, we must determine whether the chancellor erred in modifying the custody of the parties' three children by giving the father primary physical custody of them.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Tamara K. Summerlin (Tamara) and George Michael Eldridge (Mike) were married on July 16, 1994. The Union County Chancery Court granted the couple a divorce on May 24, 2011. In the final judgment of divorce, which included the property-settlement agreement, Tamara was awarded custody of the couple's youngest two daughters, Haley and Grace. Mike was awarded custody of the couple's oldest daughter, Madison. Four days after the divorce was granted, Tamara married Del Summerlin and moved to Alabama, taking Haley and Grace with her.

¶3. On August 1, 2011, Tamara filed a motion for modification, seeking to change custody of Madison and Haley. Mike agreed, and the parties submitted an agreed order on August 19, 2011. Custody of Madison was changed from Mike to Tamara, while custody of Haley was changed from Tamara to Mike. Over the next several months, the parties each filed motions for contempt and modification. After a hearing on February 27, 2012, concerning an emergency petition filed by Mike, the chancellor maintained Tamara's custody of Madison and Grace and Mike's custody of Haley. However, the parties subsequently agreed that Madison would live with Mike. The only pending issue was Grace's custody. During the litigation, the chancellor appointed a guardian ad litem, Regan S. Russell.

¶4. After a hearing, the chancellor issued a final judgment on October 4, 2012, awarding primary physical custody of all three children to Mike. Tamara filed a motion to reconsider, which was denied.

¶5. Tamara now appeals, asserting the chancellor erred by (1) allowing testimony concerning matters prior to the August 19, 2011 order, and (2) ...


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