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Bradley v. Motes

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 4, 2017

RITA BRADLEY APPELLANT
v.
JOHN DONALD MOTES APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/12/2015

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: FORREST COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. DAWN H. BEAM, TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BRANDON LARUE BROOKS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ALEXANDER IGNATIEV

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Rita Bradley appeals the chancellor's modification of custody. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

          ¶2. Rita Bradley and John Donald Motes were divorced in Hamilton County, Tennessee, on February 9, 2009. Rita was awarded primary custody of their two minor children, JHM and LHM.[1] Both Rita and John are now remarried. Rita currently resides in Petal, Mississippi, and John resides in Pelham, Alabama.

         ¶3. On August 11, 2009, John filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Forrest County, Mississippi, and requested a modification of custody of the two minor children, as well as other relief. During a hearing on May 1, 2012, the parties agreed that John's request for modification of custody would be held in abeyance and custody of both minor children would remain with Rita until such time as John renewed his request. A judgment was subsequently entered April 8, 2013.

         ¶4. On September 23, 2013, John filed a petition to modify child custody based on various grounds. A two-day trial was heard by the original chancellor on May 15, 2014, and June 4, 2014. On June 4, 2014, after she had spoken with the minor children, the chancellor advised the parties about a comment JHM had made and asked if they wanted her to recuse. Rita advised that she wanted the chancellor to recuse. As a result, the chancellor stated she would recuse.

         ¶5. On June 5, 2014, the chancellor entered a temporary order modifying custody. The chancellor awarded primary custody of LHM to John for the remainder of the summer. Primary custody of JHM remained with Rita. Thereafter, on July 11, 2014, the chancellor entered an order of recusal, and the case was reassigned.

         ¶6. On July 31, 2014, the newly assigned chancellor entered a temporary order, which revised the earlier temporary order entered by the original chancellor. The newly assigned chancellor declined to modify custody of LHM on a temporary basis and found that the judgment entered on April 8, 2013, would remain in effect until trial.

         ¶7. The trial was held on September 3, 2014. At that time, JHM was fifteen years old, and LHM was fourteen years old. The parties stipulated that JHM elected to live with Rita, and LHM elected to live with John. In his petition to modify child custody, John sought custody of both JHM and LHM. ...


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