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Darnell v. Darnell

Supreme Court of Mississippi

October 26, 2017

CARLA SPEIGHTS DARNELL
v.
WILLIAM DUFF DARNELL

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/21/2015

         JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. DAVID SHOEMAKE TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: MARK A. CHINN S. CHRISTOPHER FARRIS W. TERRELL STUBBS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MARK A. CHINN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: S. CHRISTOPHER FARRIS

          BEFORE RANDOLPH, P.J., COLEMAN AND MAXWELL, JJ.

          RANDOLPH, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶1. This matter is before this Court after remand with instructions for the chancellor to consider certain statements excluded at trial. Darnell v. Darnell, 167 So.3d 195, 198 (Miss. 2014) (Darnell I). Finding that the chancellor was not manifestly wrong or clearly erroneous in granting physical custody to Duff Darnell, we affirm the amended judgment of the chancellor.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. The facts were summarized in Darnell I and do not bear repeating. In short, Carla and Duff Darnell were married in November 2004; had a child, C.D., in 2006; and separated in September 2010. Carla filed for divorce, and after a three-day trial, the chancellor awarded physical custody to Duff. Carla appealed, and this Court remanded to the chancellor, instructing him to conduct an Albright[1] analysis anew, considering:

two statements made by C.D. to his daycare teacher and principal, which prompted them to report the incidents to the Department of Human Services. The statements were not hearsay, because they were being offered to show their effect on C.D.'s teacher and principal, who acted accordingly.

Darnell I, 167 So.3d at 210. On remand, the chancellor considered the two statements, made new findings of fact and conclusions of law, conducted a complete Albright analysis, and specifically addressed why he disagreed with the guardian ad litem's (GAL's) recommendations. The chancellor determined that:

it would be in the best interest of the minor child that the parents share joint legal custody of the child, with the child to be in the physical custody of Duff Darnell from the time that school starts in August of 2012, until the school year ends in May or June of 2013, and for each school year thereafter until further order of the Court. The mother shall have standard non-custodial parent visitation, every other weekend.

         Carla appealed again.

         STATEMENT ...


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