OF JUDGMENT: 08/05/2016
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. M. RONALD DOLEAC JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BRANDON L. BROOKS.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: PHILLIP LONDEREE.
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Renee Diane Thacker Sellers appeals the Lamar County Chancery
Court's Albright analysis and award of physical
custody to Nicholas Richard Rinderer ("Nick"). We
find no error and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Nick and Renee are the natural parents of Melanie, born in
May 2013, and Paul, born in March 2014. Nick and Renee
were never married. Both Melanie and Paul were born to the
parties while Renee was married to another man, Michael
Sellers. Renee and Michael were divorced November 24, 2014,
and share a daughter, Sophia.
This action commenced on August 12, 2013, when Nick filed a
"complaint for adjudication of paternity, custody,
support and other matters, " along with a complaint for
emergency custody. A temporary order was entered August 21,
2013, which adjudicated Nick the natural father of Melanie,
awarded joint legal custody to Nick and Renee, and temporary
physical custody to Renee. Nick was awarded visitation two
days per week. Additionally, the chancellor ordered Nick and
Renee to meet with and be evaluated by Dr. John Pat Galloway.
A guardian ad litem (GAL) was subsequently appointed by the
A review hearing was held on October 3, 2013, wherein it was
noted that Renee was pregnant and Nick was "believed by
the parties to be the father" of the child. Nick's
visitation with Melanie was increased to include overnight
visitation. Additionally, the chancellor ordered the parties
to undergo a psychological evaluation. Thereafter, Nick and
Renee were evaluated by Dr. Beverly Smallwood.
During a hearing on August 25, 2014, the chancellor found
that DNA testing confirmed Nick was Paul's natural
father. The chancellor awarded Nick graduated visitation with
Paul and ordered the parties to attend counseling.
On February 18, 2015, the Lamar County Department of Human
Services filed a complaint for support and other relief
against Nick regarding child support for Melanie and Paul. On
February 1, 2016, the chancellor ordered Nick to pay $193 per
month in child support and expanded Nick's visitation
with the children to three full days per week, beginning 6:00
p.m. Tuesday to 6:00 p.m. Friday. Nick subsequently amended
his "complaint for adjudication of paternity, custody,
support and other matters" to include Paul.
Following a two-day trial, the chancellor entered an opinion
and final judgment on August 5, 2016, wherein he adopted the
findings, report, and recommendations of the GAL. "Based
on the credible evidence and consideration of the
[Albright] factors and findings, " the
chancellor awarded joint legal custody of Melanie and Paul to
Nick and Renee, and physical custody to Nick, with Renee
"having periods of visitation more than standard."
Renee moved for reconsideration, which the chancellor denied.
Renee now appeals and argues the chancellor erred in his
Albright analysis and decision to award physical
custody to Nick.
A "chancellor's findings will not be disturbed upon
review unless the chancellor was manifestly wrong, clearly
erroneous[, ] or applied an incorrect legal standard."
Irving v. Irving, 67 So.3d 776, 778
(¶11) (Miss. 2011). However, questions of law are
reviewed de novo. Id. ANALYSIS
In all child-custody cases, the primary consideration is the
best interest and welfare of the child. Albright,
437 So.2d at 1005. When conducting an Albright
analysis, the following factors are to be considered:
(1) age, health, and sex of the child; (2) a determination of
the parent that has had the continuity of care prior to the
separation; (3) which has the best parenting skills and which
has the willingness and capacity to provide primary child
care; (4) the employment of the parent and responsibilities
of that employment; (5) physical and mental health and age of
the parents; (6) emotional ties of parent and child; (7)
moral fitness of the parents; (8) the home, school and
community record of the child; (9) the preference of the
child at the age sufficient to express a preference ...