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Gwathney v. Gwathney

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 10, 2017

KIM MARIE GWATHNEY APPELLANT
v.
GARY JOE GWATHNEY APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/23/2015

         CLAY COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. H.J. DAVIDSON JR. JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: TIMOTHY C. HUDSON

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: MARK ANDREW CLIETT

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ.

          ISHEE, J.

         ¶1. Kim Marie Gwathney claims she was entitled to a divorce from Gary Joe Gwathney based on cruel and inhuman treatment. But the Clay County Chancery Court found that she did not present sufficient evidence. Kim appeals. Because the chancellor did not abuse his discretion, apply an erroneous legal standard, or render a decision that was manifestly wrong, we affirm his judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Kim and Gary were married in February 2007. They were forty-five and fifty-eight years old, respectively. In June 2012, Kim filed for divorce based on allegations of habitual drunkenness and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Gary contested Kim's claims. ¶3. At trial, Kim testified that Gary started physically abusing her shortly after their marriage. She said he assaulted her "at least fifteen times, " but the results were typically concealed by her clothes. According to Kim, Gary often locked her out of their house, forcing her to sleep in her car or on a picnic table. She estimated that Gary physically abused her between five and ten times during the year before she left their home in June 2012. Aside from generalizations, she presented more specific evidence of two incidents: one in December 2008, and another during the summer of 2011. The two incidents will be addressed in greater detail below.

         ¶4. In July 2015, the chancellor entered his final judgment. After discussing the evidence and his reasoning in great detail, the chancellor held that Kim presented insufficient evidence that she was entitled to a divorce. Kim appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. "In domestic-relation cases, our review is limited to whether the chancery court's findings were manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous, or the court applied the wrong legal standard." Lomax v. Lomax, 172 So.3d 1258, 1260 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015). If substantial evidence in the record supports the chancellor's findings of fact, we will not disturb his decision. Id.

         ANALYSIS

         ¶6. Kim argues that the chancellor erred when he denied her request for a divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment. Kim bore the burden ...


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