OF JUDGMENT: 11/01/2016
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. JOHN C. MCLAURIN JR. TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JOHN MICHAEL DUNCAN CHRISTOPHER
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: NATHAN HENRY ELMORE JANE E. TUCKER
GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND WILSON, JJ.
Marcia Robles filed a complaint for divorce against her
husband, Jose Gonzalez. The Rankin County Chancery Court
entered a judgment granting Robles and Gonzalez an
irreconcilable-difference divorce. In his judgment, the
chancellor also made an equitable division of the martial
property and awarded Robles and Gonzalez joint legal and
physical custody of their two minor children.
Robles now appeals the chancellor's final judgment,
arguing that the chancellor erred by failing to make an
on-the-record finding of each applicable
Albright factor when awarding Robles and Gonzalez
joint custody of the minor children. Finding error in the
chancellor's final judgment, we reverse this case and
remand to the chancellor for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
Robles and Gonzalez were married in Mexico in September 2006.
After their marriage ceremony, Robles and Gonzalez resided in
Rankin County, Mississippi. On October 28, 2015, Robles filed
a complaint for divorce against Gonzalez based on
irreconcilable differences and habitual cruel and inhuman
treatment. She also requested sole legal and physical custody
of the parties' two minor children, J.P. and
The record reflects that Robles has two additional biological
children from a previous relationship, and Gonzalez has three
additional biological children from a previous relationship.
Robles's two additional biological children lived in the
marital home along with Robles, Gonzalez, J.P., and J.
Gonzalez filed his answer and counterclaim to the complaint
on December 17, 2015.
On August 3, 2016, the parties executed a stipulation where
they withdrew all enumerated fault grounds for divorce and
agreed for the entry of a divorce on the grounds of
irreconcilable differences. At a trial on the matter held
August 3, 2016 and October 31, 2016, the chancellor heard
testimony from Robles and Gonzalez, as well as Maribel Valdez
and Liliana Alcazar Cepeda.
At the trial, Robles testified that during her marriage to
Gonzalez, she stayed home and cared for the children. Robles
explained that after that she and Gonzalez separated, she
obtained employment performing roofing work and cleaning
houses, but she maintained a flexible work schedule. Robles
testified that J.P. and J. had a good relationship with
Robles's two older biological children, and she stated
that J.P. and J. would be upset if they had to live apart
from their older half-siblings.
Robles testified that due to a no-contact order issued by the
justice court, Gonzalez had only restricted visitation with
J.P. and J. Robles explained that she sought the no-contact
order after an incident on September 10, 2015, when Gonzalez
hit her and "grabbed [her] . . . and . . . threw [her]
against a fence." Robles stated that as a result of the
alleged assault, she suffered bruising and scrapes on her
arms. Robles also stated that she believed that Gonzalez had
an anger problem, and she did not feel safe around him.
Counsel for Robles entered photographs into evidence, and
Robles testified that the photographs depicted the injuries
she suffered as a result of Gonzalez's alleged assault on
September 10, 2015. Robles denied that she was seeking
immigration status based on Gonzalez's alleged assault.
During cross-examination, Robles confirmed that surrounding
the time of the alleged assault, she "commonly text[ed]
people up to a hundred or more times a day" and made
"sometimes 40, 50 telephone calls a day." When
questioned about her parenting skills, Robles admitted that
J., who was almost six years old at the time of trial,
suffered several injuries, including head and leg injuries
and a broken arm, while in her care. Robles testified that J.
also suffered extensive tooth decay which resulted in dental
work, including nineteen crowns placed on his decayed teeth.
Robles admitted that she has slapped one of her older
children across the face on one occasion, but she denied ever
slapping J.P. or J.
Robles also testified that when she attends parties,
"the children always go with [her]." Robles
admitted that people often consume alcohol at the parties,
which often last past midnight. Robles stated that on
occasion, she drove home with her children after she had
consumed alcohol, but she denied ever driving while
intoxicated. Robles also testified that she has a Mexican
driver's license, but does not have a Mississippi
driver's license. The following exchange occurred during
Q. So you are not licensed to drive in the State of
Q. And yet you drink and drive. ...