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Davis v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 24, 2017

ANGELA ELLIS DAVIS APPELLANT
v.
GARY SIDNEY DAVIS APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/13/2014

         COVINGTON COUNTY CHANCERY HON. WILLIAM R. BARNETT JUDGE:

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: AUDRY REGNAL BLACKLEDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: W. TERRELL STUBBS

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

          LEE, C.J.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶1. Prior to their divorce in 2004, Gary Davis and Angela Davis had two children-Kristin Davis and Jade "Nicole" Davis.[1] Gary and Angela's divorce decree incorporated a child-custody, support, and property-settlement agreement, which provided for "joint legal and joint physical custody" and visitation for the "noncustodial parent." Angela was the custodial parent, and Gary was the noncustodial parent with visitation. The agreement also provided that Gary would pay $500 per month in child support.

         ¶2. In October 2013, Angela filed a petition in the Covington County Chancery Court to terminate Gary's parental rights or, in the alternative, modify Gary's custody/visitation rights and increase the amount of child support. Angela alleged that Gary had not exercised visitation with Kristin after an altercation with Gary's current wife, Teresa Davis, in September 2011, or with Nicole since December 2012. Angela also claimed that Gary's income had increased since the divorce. Gary filed an answer and a counterclaim for contempt and for modification, seeking sole custody of the children.

         ¶3. In February 2014, the chancellor appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) to make recommendations as to the termination of Gary's parental rights. After a hearing on the matter, the chancellor denied Angela's requests to (1) terminate Gary's parental rights, (2) modify custody/visitation, and (3) increase the amount of child support. But the chancellor did order Gary to pay Kristin's and Nicole's private-school tuition as long as both girls continued to visit Gary. Finally, the chancellor ordered that Gary could execute a power of attorney allowing Teresa to have access to the children's school records while Gary was working out of town.

         ¶4. Angela filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment, for reconsideration, and for a new trial, which was denied. Angela appeals, asserting the chancellor erred by failing to: (1) modify Gary's custody/visitation; (2) increase child-support payments; and (3) follow the GAL's recommendation. Angela also argues the chancellor should not have allowed Teresa access to the children's school records.

         FACTS

         ¶5. Since the 2004 divorce, Gary began working out of state for months at a time, which directly impacted his visitation with the children. Gary stated that if he was out of town, the children would still go for visitation with Teresa and Marissa, Gary and Teresa's daughter. Immediately prior to trial, Gary had been working out of state for four months straight. The record indicates that Gary had timely paid his child support and had bought the children school clothes and school supplies.

         ¶6. Testimony during the hearing indicated that Kristin and Gary got into an argument during the children's visitation in September 2011, and Teresa stepped in to restrain Kristin. Gary took Kristin to stay with Angela's father, but Nicole stayed with Gary and Teresa for the remainder of her ...


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