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Dobson v. Dobson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 31, 2015

STEPHANIE DENISE DAVIES DOBSON, APPELLANT
v.
JOHN THOMAS DOBSON, JR., APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/03/2013.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PEARL RIVER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. DEBORAH J. GAMBRELL. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AWARDED PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE PRIMARY PHYSICAL CUSTODY OF MINOR CHILD, AWARDED JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY, AND GRANTED DEFENDANT/APPELLANT EXTENDED WEEKEND VISITATION ONCE A MONTH.

FOR APPELLANT: S. CHRISTOPHER FARRIS, TERRY L. CAVES, STEVEN J. IRWIN, RISHER GRANTHAM CAVES.

FOR APPELLEE: CLEMENT S. BENVENUTTI.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 28

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

IRVING, P.J.

[¶1] This appeal arises from a final custody order entered by the Chancery Court of Pearl River County in favor of the appellee, John Dobson. We are called upon to decide whether there is substantial evidence supporting the chancery court's findings as to certain Albright [1] factors and whether the chancery court erred by awarding the appellant, Stephanie Dobson, only one extended weekend of visitation per month.

Page 29

[¶2] Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

FACTS

[¶3] John and Stephanie married on November 11, 2004.[2] The parties had only one child, Hayden, who was born on January 6, 2010. In September 2012, without notifying John, Stephanie quit her job in Picayune, and she and Hayden moved to Winnfield, Louisiana, to live with her parents.

[¶4] On October 16, 2012, John filed a complaint for divorce, requesting, among other things, temporary and permanent custody of Hayden. On November 2, 2012, the chancery court entered a temporary custody order granting the parties joint physical custody of Hayden, and pursuant to that order, Hayden spent alternating two-week periods with Stephanie and John. The case went to trial on October 22, 2013. Following trial, the chancery court awarded John and Stephanie joint legal custody of Hayden, and awarded John primary physical custody. The chancery court also extended the two-week visitation schedule until July 2014, and, as stated, the chancery court granted Stephanie one weekend of visitation per month, beginning in August 2014. Stephanie now appeals.

DISCUSSION

[¶5] In Brumfield v. Brumfield, 49 So.3d 138, 142 (¶ 9) (Miss. Ct.App. 2010) (internal citations and quotations omitted), this Court stated:

A [chancery court's] findings of fact will not be disturbed unless manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous. This Court will not disturb the findings of a [chancery court] when supported by substantial evidence unless the [chancery court] abused [its] discretion, was manifestly wrong, clearly erroneous[,] or an erroneous legal standard was applied. Furthermore, we will affirm the child-custody decree if the record shows any ground upon which the decision may be justified. We will not arbitrarily substitute our judgment for that of the [chancery court, which] is in the best position to evaluate all factors relating to the best interest of the child.

I. Albright Factors

[¶6] It is well-settled that " the polestar consideration in child[-]custody cases is the best interest and welfare of the child." Albright, 437 So.2d at 1005. In determining the best interest and welfare of the child, the chancery court must consider the Albright factors. Blakely v. Blakely, 88 So.3d 798, 803 (¶ 16) (Miss. Ct.App. 2012) (citation omitted). Additionally,

[a]n appellate court must find a [chancery court] in error where the [chancery court] improperly considers and applies the Albright factors. In determining whether the [chancery court] abused [its] discretion in applying the Albright factors, the appellate court reviews the evidence and testimony presented at trial under each factor to ensure the [chancery court's] ruling was supported by [the] record.

Tanner v. Tanner, 956 So.2d 1106, 1108 (¶ 7) (Miss. Ct.App. 2007) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Stephanie only challenges the chancery court's findings as to five ...


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