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Pittman v. Pittman

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 24, 2015

PROPST FAITH PITTMAN A/K/A PROPST FAITH DEVENY PITTMAN APPELLANT
v.
TY LATHAN PITTMAN A/K/A TY THOMAS LATHAN PITTMAN APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/18/2012

PANOLA COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. PERCY L. LYNCHARD JR. TRIAL JUDGE:

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BEN LOGAN

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: T. SWAYZE ALFORD KAYLA FOWLER WARE

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ.

JAMES, J.

¶1. Propst Pittman filed for divorce from her husband, Ty Pittman, on the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. At the close of her case-in-chief, the Panola County Chancery Court dismissed her complaint. Propst now appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Ty and Propst Pittman were married April 11, 1992, in Quitman County, Mississippi. Two children were born of the marriage, Tyler Faith Pittman, born May 10, 1994, and Mary Lathan Pittman, born December 19, 2000. Ty and Propst separated on June 5, 2010. Upon separation, Propst remained with the children in the marital home located at 130 Faith Drive, Batesville, Mississippi, and Ty moved into a structure that the parties referred to as the "Barn"[1] located at 227 Jackson Road, Sledge, Mississippi.

¶3. On August 19, 2010, Propst filed a complaint for divorce on the ground of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Ty filed an answer and counter-complaint for divorce on October 20, 2010. On October 29, 2010, the chancellor entered a temporary order addressing the custody and support of the children and separate maintenance. A guardian ad litem was appointed on July 6, 2011. Prior to trial, Ty filed a motion to dismiss his counterclaim for divorce.

¶4. A trial was held on November 27, 2012.[2] Propst testified that, during the marriage, Ty forced her into bankruptcy, was uncommunicative, often called her names such as "retard, " and once questioned her about whether she had an affair. She also testified to several incidents of alleged physical abuse. The first incident occurred in 2009 when Propst was leaving her accountant's office and she refused to show Ty her tax returns. According to Propst, Ty "jerked" the bag out of her grasp, leaving her wrist swollen. Propst testified that she had to have her wrist x-rayed. The second incident of alleged abuse occurred after the parties separated. Propst and Tyler were visiting Ty at the Barn. According to Propst, while in the residence, she saw some paperwork that interested her and, when she picked up the documents, Ty "jumped over the couch, grabbed my neck[, ] and . . . started pushing me towards the door . . . to escort me out." Propst further testified that Ty once pushed her down into a chair and that other times Ty would push her if she was in his way. However, Propst did not recount specific incidents nor when they allegedly occurred. Propst also testified about instances of alleged child abuse concerning Tyler.

¶5. Tyler testified that there had been difficult times in the household between her parents. She described her father's temper as "uncontrollable at times." Tyler testified to the 2009 incident in which she witnessed her mother attempting to view documents at her father's residence and her father grabbing her mother by the back of the neck. Tyler testified that she had problems with her father in the past concerning discipline and punishment. She testified that her father had spanked her with a belt on numerous occasions. She described an incident that occurred when she was fifteen years old[3] in which her father broke in her bathroom door in order to confiscate her cellular phone. Ty then took the phone outside and smashed it with a hammer. She testified about another incident that occurred two or three years prior to the trial in which her father allegedly punched or pushed her into a brick wall, causing her to cut her face. According to Tyler and Propst, Tyler filed a police report but later dropped the charges.

¶6. Ty was called as an adverse witness at trial. Ty denied ever physically abusing Propst. He admitted to the 2009 incident outside Propst's accountant's office. According to Ty, he "grabbed and pulled the bag out of her hand to look at her tax returns." Ty denied that he physically assaulted Propst at the Barn. According to Ty, Propst "went to the desk and grabbed some papers . . . [Ty] put [his] hand on the back of her neck and her shoulder and . . . walked her to the door[.]"

ΒΆ7. Ty also denied physically abusing his daughter, Tyler. Ty admitted that, in the past, he had spanked Tyler for disobedience. He also admitted that on two occasions he had "slapped [Tyler] . . . with the tip of his fingers" when Tyler used profanity towards him. Ty denied that he had ever punched Tyler. Ty admitted to the incident that occurred when Tyler ...


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