Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roberts v. Eads

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 10, 2017


          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/19/2016





          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. The Forrest County Chancery Court awarded Lauren Roberts and Tyler Eads joint legal and physical custody of their eight-year-old son, Thomas.[1] In appealing the chancellor's denial of her request for primary physical custody, Lauren asserts that the chancellor (1) erred in his application of the Albright[2] factors and (2) misapplied Mississippi statutory law and caselaw. Finding no error, we affirm.


         ¶2. Tyler and Lauren cohabited in 2008. Following their son's birth in 2009, the parties ended their relationship and eventually married other people. Tyler married Jenny Eads around December 2009, and the couple later had two children together. Lauren married Harry Martinolich in May 2012, and they had one child together. Lauren and Harry later divorced, and in May 2015, Lauren married Daniel Roberts. At the time of the hearing on this matter, Lauren and Daniel were expecting a child.

         ¶3. On May 22, 2015, Lauren filed a petition seeking sole legal and physical custody of Thomas. On June 29, 2015, Tyler filed a response, a counterclaim for custody, and a motion for temporary relief. The same day the chancellor entered a temporary order awarding Lauren temporary legal and physical custody of Thomas and granting Tyler visitation rights. The chancellor also appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) for Thomas.

         ¶4. On March 1, 2016, the GAL submitted her initial report. The GAL found that Lauren, age twenty-six, worked as a nurse with the Hattiesburg School District. The GAL further found that Tyler, age twenty-seven, had worked for numerous companies as a truck driver and was currently employed by Ross Trucking. The GAL found no concerns with the parties' spouses and determined that both spouses were involved in Thomas's life and cared for him very much. Although Thomas enjoyed spending time with his father, stepmother, and half-brothers, the GAL found that he had lived his entire life with his mother. As a result, the GAL concluded that Thomas was closer to Lauren and was more comfortable in a living environment with her.

         ¶5. Taking into consideration the Albright factors, the GAL found the following factors favored Lauren: (1) continuity of care; (2) employment and responsibilities of that employment; (3) emotional ties with the child; (4) stability of the home environment; and (5) stability of employment. Due to Thomas's age, the GAL deemed inapplicable the factor regarding his preference.[3] She further concluded that all the remaining Albright factors were neutral. Based on her findings, the GAL initially recommended that Lauren retain primary physical custody of Thomas, Tyler receive standard visitation rights, and the parties share legal custody. At the end of her initial report, the GAL wrote that she reserved the right to change her opinion based upon pending testimony and the receipt of additional information.

         ¶6. After filing her original report, the GAL followed up with the parties and reviewed Thomas's school records. In addition, the GAL interviewed Tyler's parents (Thomas's paternal grandparents) and the paternal grandmother of Lauren's son from her marriage with Harry. The additional information gathered by the GAL led her to change her custody recommendation. As a result, the GAL submitted a supplemental report on June 17, 2016.

         ¶7. In her supplemental report, the GAL explained that she originally recommended Lauren retain primary physical custody of Thomas because she believed Lauren had continuity of care and that neither Tyler nor his parents were active in Thomas's life. However, the GAL stated she had received new information that showed both Tyler and his parents had actively participated in Thomas's life prior to the custody filing but that Lauren had not allowed them to see Thomas since she filed for sole custody. In addition, the GAL reported that Tyler had initially refrained from refuting Lauren's allegations or speaking negatively about her because he was afraid Lauren "would continue to withhold [Thomas] from his life." The GAL found that Lauren had twice previously withheld visitation from Tyler, with each occasion lasting from several weeks to several months. After taking into account the additional information she had received, the GAL recommended that Lauren and Tyler share legal and physical custody of Thomas.

         ¶8. On June 28, 2016, the chancellor held a hearing on the parties' custody dispute. On July 19, 2016, the chancellor entered his final judgment. In applying the Albright factors, the chancellor agreed with the GAL's analysis that the following factors were neutral: (1) Thomas's age, health, and sex; (2) the parties' parenting skills; (3) the parents' willingness and capacity to provide primary child care; (4) the parents' age, physical health, and mental health; (5) Thomas's home, school, and community record; and (6) the parents' relative financial situations. Although ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.